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Neurotoxicol Teratol. 2006 Jul-Aug;28(4):517-25. Epub 2006 Jun 29.

Neurocognitive consequences of cigarette smoking in young adults--a comparison with pre-drug performance.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1S 5B6. peter_fried@carleton.ca

Abstract

The present study examined effects of current and past regular cigarette smoking in young adult subjects. One hundred and twelve 17-21-year-old subjects, assessed since infancy, were evaluated using a battery of neurocognitive tests for which commensurate measures were obtained at 9-12 years of age, prior to the initiation of regular smoking. Smokers, determined by urinalysis and self-report, were categorized as heavy (>9 cigarettes per day) and light (<9 cigarettes per day) current smokers and former smokers, the latter having smoked cigarettes regularly in the past but not for at least 6 months. A third of the subjects were currently smoking cigarettes regularly with half of these being heavy smokers. Among former smokers, the average duration of smoking was slightly less than 2 years. Overall IQ, memory, processing speed, vocabulary, attention and abstract reasoning were the primary outcomes with comparisons being made between each of the three user groups and a control group who never smoked regularly. After accounting for potentially confounding factors including clinical assessment, marihuana use and pre-drug performance in the relevant cognitive domain, current regular smokers did significantly worse than non-smokers in a variety of cognitive areas predicated upon verbal/auditory competence including receptive and expressive vocabulary, oral arithmetic, and auditory memory. This impact of current smoking appears to behave in a dose-response and duration-related fashion. In contrast, former smokers differed from the non-smokers only in the arithmetic task. These results suggest that regular smoking during early adulthood is associated with cognitive impairments in selected domains and that these deficits may be reversed upon cessation. Together, the findings add to the body of evidence to be used in persuading adolescents and young adults against the initiation of smoking and, if currently smoking, the advantages of stopping.

PMID:
16904287
DOI:
10.1016/j.ntt.2006.06.003
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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