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Effect of cigarette smoking on cognitive performance in young adult smokers

Pushpa K, Kanchana R.

Background: Cigarette smoking represents a considerable public health burden globally. Smoking in older adults is associated with cognitive impairment and more rapid age-associated cognitive decline, but there is a paucity of studies in younger people. Hence, the study was undertaken to know the effect of cigarette smoke on cognitive functions in young healthy adults.

Aims and Objectives: The aim of the study was to assess and to compare the cognitive performance in young adult smokers and non-smokers.

Materials and Methods: Study was conducted between 30 male smokers (study group) and age, body mass index and education level matched (18–30 years) 30 male non-smokers (control group) based on inclusion and exclusion criteria. Subjects of both groups answered a self-reported questionnaire about smoking and personal history. Cognitive tests were done for both the groups, scores tabulated and analyzed.

Results: Study group showed a significant reduction in psychomotor speed (P < 0.001) and sustained attention (P < 0.001) but no significant changes in executive functions as compared to subjects in the control group.

Conclusion: Prevention of early cognitive decline in smokers has to be the top priority so as to reduce the public health burden. Awareness has to be created among smokers about the neurotoxic effects of cigarette smoke and increased risk of cognitive impairment.

Key words: Cognition; Cognitive Impairment; Neurotoxic Effects; Smoking

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