Cigarette Smoking and IQ Are Related


A large study conducted at Tel Aviv University finds that smoking cigarettes is linked to a lower IQ in young men.

The Study

A look at 20,000 young men enlisted in the Israel army examined the relationship between cigarette smoking and IQ. The results showed that smokers had an average IQ that was more than 7 points below that of their non-smoking peers. Among those who smoked more than a pack of cigarettes a day, IQ was about 11 points lower. A look at sibling pairs where one brother smoked found that, on average, the non-smoking brother had a higher IQ. Although lower, most smokers had IQs within the average range.

Why Is This Important?

This study is the largest of its kind that has ever been conducted, and it provides evidence that may support a new way of looking at smoking prevention. While socio-economic status has often been associated with increase risk of cigarette use, being on the lower end of the average IQ may be a better indicator of smoking risk.

The study's lead researcher, Professor Mark Weiser, adds an important note about addiction in general: "People with lower IQs are not only prone to addictions such as smoking. These same people are more likely to have obesity, nutrition and narcotics issues. Our study adds to the evidence of this growing body of research, and it may help parents and health professionals help at-risk young people make better choices."


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