London, England | Jonathan Gallagher / ANN

Research by the London-based Institute of Psychiatry indicates that smoking in later life is associated with a decline in intelligence.

The study examined more than 650 people aged 65 and over to determine their intellectual powers and record their smoking habits. Researchers found that smokers experienced four times the risk of intellectual impairment than non-smokers or former smokers.

Smoking is a contributing factor in cardio-vascular disease and atherosclerosis, narrowing arteries and so reducing blood supply to the brain. It is suggested that this may explain the decline in intelligence.

“This is another in the long line of research studies that demonstrate the negative impact smoking has on health and well-being,” comments Stoy Proctor, associate health director for the Seventh-day Adventist Church. “With all the other damage done by smoking—including cardio-vascular disease, lung cancer, emphysema and so on—this just adds to the list of the health problems smokers cause themselves. We view such studies as wake-up calls to kick the habit, and get professional help to make sure this happens.”

Adventists have long promoted the benefits of a smoke-free lifestyle and helped many smokers quit through smoking cessation programs.