Smoking is dumb: Researcher finds link between cigarette smoking and IQ

Apr 01, 2010

"Only dopes use dope," goes the memorable warning about drugs. Now a Tel Aviv University researcher cautions that the same goes for cigarettes.

A study led by Prof. Mark Weiser of Tel Aviv University's Department of Psychiatry and the Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer Hospital has determined that young men who smoke are likely to have lower IQs than their non-smoking peers. Tracking 18- to 21-year-old men enlisted in the Israeli army in the largest ever study of its kind, he has been able to demonstrate an important connection between the number of cigarettes young males smoke and their IQ.

The average IQ for a non-smoker was about 101, while the smokers' average was more than seven IQ points lower at about 94, the study determined. The IQs of young men who smoked more than a pack a day were lower still, at about 90. An in a healthy population of such young men, with no mental disorders, falls within the range of 84 to 116.

An addiction that doesn't discriminate

"In the health profession, we've generally thought that smokers are most likely the kind of people to have grown up in difficult neighborhoods, or who've been given less education at good schools," says Prof. Weiser, whose study was reported in a recent version of the . "But because our study included subjects with diverse socio-economic backgrounds, we've been able to rule out socio-economics as a major factor. The government might want to rethink how it allocates its educational resources on ."

Making the results more significant, the study also measured effects in twin brothers. In the case where one twin smoked, the non-smoking twin registered a higher IQ on average.

Although a lower IQ may suggest a greater risk for smoking addiction, the cross-sectional data on IQ and smoking found that most of the smokers investigated in the study had IQs within the average range nevertheless.

Obesity, drug addiction also at issue

In the study, the researchers took data from more than 20,000 men before, during and after their time in the military. All men in the study were considered in good health, since pre-screening measures for suitability in the army had already been taken. The researchers found that around 28 percent of their sample smoked one or more cigarettes a day, 3 percent considered themselves ex-smokers, and 68% said they never smoked.

Prof. Weiser says that the study illuminates a general trend in epidemiological studies. "People on the lower end of the average IQ tend to display poorer overall decision-making skills when it comes to their health," says Prof. Weiser. He adds that his finding can help address a serious concern among health counsellors at grade and high schools. Schoolchildren who have been found to have a lower IQ can be considered at risk to begin the habit, and can be targeted with special education and therapy to prevent them from starting or to break the habit after it sets in.

"People with lower IQs are not only prone to addictions such as smoking," Prof. Weiser adds. "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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User comments : 29

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cybrbeast
5 / 5 (1) Apr 01, 2010
Did they test fraternal or identical twins? With fraternal twins it would still not prove any causation.
freethinking
1.9 / 5 (14) Apr 01, 2010
This is a troll.... but I really cant help it, had a rough week.

Since more Liberals smoke including the current President, this proves that liberals have a lower IQ than Conservatives.

below is a link that shows the smoking stats.
http://pewsocialt...quitting
CyberRat
3.3 / 5 (9) Apr 01, 2010
Is this science?
I smoke, and i'm a proud member of Mensa with an IQ of 142.

"In the study, the researchers took data from more than 20,000 men before, during and after their time in the military."

There is the clue!
Nemo
4 / 5 (5) Apr 01, 2010
One has to think that all the garbage in cigarettes would do so damage to an organ as complex as the brain. Smoking certainly does a job on other organs.
Megadeth312
4.5 / 5 (4) Apr 01, 2010
Is this science?
I smoke, and i'm a proud member of Mensa with an IQ of 142.

"In the study, the researchers took data from more than 20,000 men before, during and after their time in the military."

There is the clue!


Exactly, so maybe the average soldier who smokes may not be as smart as the guy next to him, but the real smart guys aren't getting shot at, smoking or not.
PinkElephant
3.9 / 5 (8) Apr 01, 2010
@CyberRat,
Is this science?
I smoke, and i'm a proud member of Mensa with an IQ of 142.
But have you ever considered, smartypants, that if you didn't smoke, mayhap your IQ would've been more like 150...
CyberRat
3.2 / 5 (5) Apr 01, 2010
@PinkE

Neh, and I'm not a smartpants, I think fast and can link information different then 'normal' people do, but smart? I smoke remember :)
otto1923
2.8 / 5 (4) Apr 01, 2010
Is this science?
I smoke, and i'm a proud member of Mensa with an IQ of 142.

"In the study, the researchers took data from more than 20,000 men before, during and after their time in the military."

There is the clue!
So you're one of them idiot savants eh? Did you take the test before or after you started smoking? Better take it again-
dsl5000
3.8 / 5 (5) Apr 01, 2010
I personally do believe smoking does have an impact on intelligence...but that is my opinion. You impact the lungs, which impacts the vascular system...both a double whammy to the brain.

This study imo doesn't prove much...it could be that the less intelligent people got swayed because its the cool thing to do.

Who said intelligent people can't do stupid things? In fact smart people have two fantastic options :) They can choose to do smart things and they can choose to be retards.

Though unfortunately stupid people...in the words of Forest Gump: Stupid is as stupid does.

I'll tell you what, sniffing paint thinners will definitely make you less intelligent haha
aphystud
4 / 5 (3) Apr 01, 2010
They find correlation on a very small part of the IQ distribution like 90-120? Then they conclude that the correlation is true throughout. Weak experimental design.

When at one part of the graph you see a linear trend, you extrapolate that its linear at the extreme ends...that's not scientific.

But of course if proven true throughout the distribution, doesn't statistics permit existence of outliers?
otto1923
3.9 / 5 (7) Apr 01, 2010
@dsl5000
Guess you didn't see this study:
http://www.scienc...0400.htm
-Smoking causes brain and neurological damage, especially in unborn babies.
Paul58
4.2 / 5 (5) Apr 02, 2010
There is a really amusing irony in that the smokers who are trying to discredit the study-- including the guy who wants us to believe he has a 142 IQ-- are making arguments that are not very intelligent, thus providing evidence that the study was correct in its findings that smokers tend to be less intelligent!
dachpyarvile
3.3 / 5 (11) Apr 02, 2010
I had an IQ of over 157 at the age of seven years. In spite of that I still did stupid things like try smoking. It never stuck with me, though. One cigarette was enough.

Later, I smoked pot, inhaled, liked it, but, ultimately, I realized how stupid it was to do it. I also realized that my IQ actually had fallen to 126 after a few years of this stupidity in an effort to fit in.

Don't kid yourself. Smoking damages brain cells as does pot smoking. All that inhalation of carbon monoxide really can scramble one's brain and does have an effect over even a short time.

Perhaps it is not that one starts out with a lower IQ and, therefore, smokes because of it; perhaps it is rather that the lowering of IQ is the net result of the damage caused by smoking of any kind. The only way something like this can be causally linked to lower IQ is to study thousands of children and watch them over time to see if the preliminary data holds true. This study is a start but much more work needs doing.
EgadsNo
not rated yet Apr 02, 2010
confounding factors in their statistics anyone?
ununhexium
3 / 5 (2) Apr 02, 2010
All organs, including the brain, function best with good oxygen supply. Aerobic exercise increases the ability to carry and utilize oxygen within the body, including the brain. Various studies (do a search) show an increase of IQ when participants exercised aerobically. Smoking inhibits oxygen supply, (along with introducing toxins) so it would seem feasible that decreased oxygen supply due to smoking could lower IQ. Also interesting that people with lower IQ are more prone to smoking. Do they get a double whammy? lower IQ to begin with and then lowered even further due to smoking? I'd like to see more research.
Doug_Huffman
3 / 5 (2) Apr 02, 2010
A difference of less that a standard deviation, defined as 15 points for IQ, is no difference.
antialias
3 / 5 (6) Apr 02, 2010
Is this science?
I smoke, and i'm a proud member of Mensa with an IQ of 142.


Sorry, but if you don't understand the difference between a statistic and a singular observation then you have neither an IQ of 142 nor do you belong to Mensa.
dtxx
1 / 5 (2) Apr 02, 2010
@PinkE

Neh, and I'm not a smartpants, I think fast and can link information different then 'normal' people do, but smart? I smoke remember :)


Sounds like autism.
sugamari
1 / 5 (3) Apr 02, 2010
They don't call it dope 'cuz it makes you smart. Was Bruce Lee smarter or stupider because he ate his dope?

I used to smoke a pack a day for about 15 years. I was very dedicated too. When I realized that the global elite had reasons to keep me smoking I quit cold turkey and never looked back. Since then my IQ has probably soared especially in the global elite and their scams department.

Now, I need dope just so I can handle living in the evil bankers system. That is why I think they might legalize pot otherwise it is too empowering.

O that figures article right from another control arm of the bankster elite. Now we know why they let us smoke and drink and not smoke pot - they need us stupider than them. Well, we got a long ways to go.
CarolinaScotsman
4 / 5 (5) Apr 02, 2010
My IQ has been measured at 140+. In college, I had a 4.0 average and graduated suma cum laude. I smoked (until age 56) a pack and a half a day. Look at pictures from the forties and fifties of scientists working on projects such as the Manhattan project. A major percenatge of them smoked. Look at video of the control room during the early NASA space shots. The room is murky with cigarette smoke.

Is it possible that the reults were caused not by the effects of smoking, but by the fact that in this day and age, the more intelligent a person is, the more likely they are to know the health results of smoking and therefore never start. Back in the day, we didn't know, so nearly everyone smoked.
robbor
1 / 5 (1) Apr 02, 2010
i hope these dolts are doing this "research" on their dime
vantomic
not rated yet Apr 04, 2010
Tracking 18- to 21-year-old men enlisted in the Israeli army...if you can't understand a bad sample you have the iq of a frog antialias and anyone else that think this study means anything.

I'd ban anyone who thinks this is good science if I had control of these boards...fucking idiots
Paradox
3 / 5 (2) Apr 04, 2010
Not that I am for smoking, but the obvious isn't taken into account in this article. Many of the modern great scientists smoked tobacco in one form or another. Einstein, Edison, Tesla(although he quit), and many others included.
Personally I think it has more to do with pressures of society then I.Q.
JerryPark
1 / 5 (2) Apr 04, 2010
Foolish study. What was the IQ of the researchers and how many smoked?

Albert Einstein smoked. I think there is a general agreement that he was quite intelligent.
antialias_physorg
4 / 5 (4) Apr 04, 2010
Tracking 18- to 21-year-old men enlisted in the Israeli army...if you can't understand a bad sample you have the iq of a frog antialias and anyone else that think this study means anything.

Since the israeli army is a conscription army (conscripting men and women equally) it should represent a relatively unbiased cross section of the populace.

To all those who say "my father/I/Einstein smoked and had an IQ of 150" ... please go back to school and take an introductory math class. You can find _singular_ samples for everything. A statistic is something else.

Does Hitler having been a vegetarian mean that all vegetarians want to commit genocide? See how such an argument only makes you look like fools?
ebnv
not rated yet Apr 04, 2010
I have an IQ over 150 and I smoked for 30 years.. Isreal is a SMALL society this study is crap.
There is no mention that this so-called study was published... I can see why!
dachpyarvile
2.3 / 5 (3) Apr 05, 2010
I would disagree that this study is crap--at this point. It is a starting point but it is not necessarily crap.

Now, those involved in the appropriate field need to work to falsify the hypothesis. When--or if--it becomes falsified, then the epithet of 'crap' certainly can be applied. :)
PhilA
not rated yet Apr 06, 2010
Keep in mind that the study was of young men. I would suspect that the IQ relationship breaks down as we look further back in time. The full dangers of smoking have only recently come into public understanding.

Also, all the "I smoke and am smart" seem to be taking personal offense rather than accepting that there could be a link on average and that they simply aren't average.
Javinator
not rated yet Apr 07, 2010
IQ doesn't imply common sense.

Saying "I'm smart and I smoke!" with today's knowledge of the dangers of smoking doesn't really imply that you're smart regardless of your IQ.

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