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Quitting smoking boosts memory

Quitting smoking boosts memory Everyday memory restored to near normal levels

Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health, but now new research has shown it can also improve your memory.

A study at Northumbria University found that smoking can cause people to lose some of their everyday memory. However, quitting the habit restored everyday memory to nearly the same level as non-smokers.

In the study, 27 smokers, 18 previous smokers and 24 people who had never smoked were given a real world memory test.

All participants were asked to recall various tasks at specific locations while on a tour of a university campus.

The smokers performed badly, remembering just 59 per cent of the tasks.

But those who had given up smoking remembered 74 per cent of tasks compared to those who had never smoked, who remembered 81 per cent of tasks.

Dr Tom Heffernan, from the Collaboration for Drug and Alcohol Research Group at the university, said: "Given that there are up to 10 million smokers in the UK and as many as 45 million in the United States, it’s important to understand the effects smoking has on everyday cognitive function – of which prospective memory is an excellent example.

"This is the first time that a study has set out to examine whether giving up smoking has an impact on memory.

"We already know that giving up smoking has huge health benefits for the body but this study also shows how stopping smoking can have knock-on benefits for cognitive function too."

This article was published on Thu 22 September 2011

Image © RTimages - Fotolia.com

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