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Smoking: a classy way to kill the brain

Smoking Affects Brain Health

Aayush started smoking in 5th grade. By the age of 13, he smoked every single day and over time, smoking crept into every corner of his life. He was an addict who used to smoke throughout the day. In India, more than 10 million people die due to tobacco and according to WHO, it’s home to 12% of the world’s smokers. Do you know that smoking not merely affects your lungs, it affects your brain too.

How Nicotine affects your Brain?

As I said earlier, most of the people think that smoking affects the lungs and heart only, but what’s less known is the impact that nicotine has on their brain.

Lori A. Russell-Chapin, PhD, professor at Bradley University’s Online Masters of Counseling Program explained Nicotine imitates numerous neurotransmitters which send signals to the brain and activates the dopamine signals. This results in pleasurable sensations in their brain.
Over time, more a person smokes, the brain decreases acetylcholine receptors to compensate for higher signalling activity.

It creates a nicotine tolerance which ends up requiring more nicotine. It imitates dopamine, so the brain starts relating nicotine use with a pleasant feeling. Brain volume alters and lets smokers suffer from symptoms like anxiety and irritability when they try to quit smoking. Consequently, most people get another cigarette, and then another and they are unable to quit their smoking habit.

Side effects of Nicotine

Here are a few causes which affect both the body and mind:

Low appetite
Mood gets high
Activity increases in the intestines
Produces more saliva and phlegm
Heart rate increases
High B.P.
Perspiring heavily
Nausea and Dizziness
Memory gets better
High alertness

Brain volume decreases over time

In 2017 a study was conducted and it revealed that the longer a person smoke, the more their brain loses volume. The brain size is connected with good cognitive functioning and higher intelligence. The people who smokes develop age-related loss of brain volume that leads to higher risk of dementia.

Smoking causes Dementia

Dementia is a general term that is referred to by progressively worse in thinking, memory, behaviour, and the ability to perform daily tasks. Mostly older people get this syndrome, but it can’t be considered as a normal part of ageing. As smoking affects the subcortical areas of the brain that are related to memory and it puts people at an increased risk of dementia.
Researchers reviewed 37 research studies in 2015, to find out who gets more affected by dementia. In comparison of smokers and non – smokers, 30% of smokers were more affected by dementia. Also, if a person quits smoking then it can reduces the risk of dementia.

Cognitive decline due to smoking

Older people are most likely to face cognitive decline. But the people who does smoking, it happens much earlier in their brain.

Common signs of cognitive decline are:
Symptoms of depression
Personality changes
Delusions and hallucinations occurs
Symptoms of anxiety
Perplexed about visual-spatial activities

Cognitive data was collected of around 7000 men and women which were examined for 12 years. In 2012, the experts revealed that the people who smoke they are tend to experienced a rapid cognitive decline than non-smokers. Men in their middle-age, who smoke were found to be at higher risk than female smokers.

Risk of Brain Cancer gets higher

Severe amount of toxic is being released in the body due to smoking. In tobacco, there are approximately 60 known cancer causing chemicals.
Cigarette are made up of:
Polonium 210
Carbon monoxide

How smoking affects Mental Health?

Smoking affects the brain of a person and mental health too. People suffering from bad mental health starts smoking and worsen their mental conditions.

The nicotine changes the brain. It makes the brain associate with pleasurable feeling to smoking. People starts smoking on daily basis and quitting this injurious habit becomes difficult. The person suffers from withdrawal symptoms and start finding comfort in smoking. The person gets himself involved in this dangerous cycle and become addicted to smoking.

Nicotine imitates the work of dopamine, sending signals to the brain which activates dopamine. The more a person smoke, the supply of dopamine reduces in the brain and make people to smoke more. The relation between depression and smoking is sort of complex. Depressed people who are habitual of smoking faces more difficulties in quitting smoking as withdrawal symptoms like irritability, anxiety becomes more severe in those people.

Have you ever heard anyone saying that smoking makes me feel better? Or
The person is stressed and he or she needs to smoke urgently.
Stress is so common and it causes symptoms like headaches, irritability, anxiety, and respiratory problems. Smoking can make these symptoms severe. Smokers start associating smoking with being a reliever of stress and if they try to quit, then it becomes tough.

According to studies, smoking increases tension and anxiety in a person. The pleasurable feeling that people talk about after a quick smoke, it vanishes away just as quickly. The feeling is short-lived and it merely causes more jitteriness in a person.

Quit Smoking, it’s not that tough

When a person quit smoking, within 20 minutes of it, his/her heart rate will decrease and within 12 hours of quitting, levels of carbon monoxide in blood will start reducing. In a period of 3 months, lung functions and blood circulation will start getting better of that person and in a year of quitting, the risk of heart attack will reduces by 50%.



People know that how much smoking is injurious to their health and still they prefer to do it. Smoking affects not merely your body but the people around you also suffers. So, quit smoking and live longer.


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What do you think?

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Written by Nidhi Dahiya

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Nice work

Avan dalal

Nice work

Riya Rajkotiya

Well researched Article
Keep Writing



Anjali Yadav

Is there any cure to this disease dementia….
But the article is really very informative.


Thankyou for giving us these informative articles

Simone Morarka

An interesting read!

Sushmitha Subramani

Amazing work. Very informative and interesting.

Mrunmayee Kulkarni

Very well written. Smoking these days has also become a way of teenagers to outshine themselves in front of their friends. They lie to their parents for money in order to get this . Passive smoking is much more worse than smoking itself. It means that people around a smoker are more likely to catch the infections than a smoker .

Shreya Srivastava

I must say it is a very informative article.. and as far as smoking is concerned It is one of the greatest causes of prevenable death .In US,it accounts for at least 4,80,000 deaths every is related to a fourfold increase in women’s risk of developing breast cancer after menopause.IT also affects our brain and increases the risk for chronic bronchitis and other respiratory disorders. Studies also reveal that spouses, family members and co-workers are also at huge health is an addiction reported to be harder to stop than heroin addiction and alcholism. Your article helped me understand that how it affects the brain size.

Trisha Baunthiyal

Very informative!
People need to see this and realise that smoking also affects the psychological well being of a person.

Vipassana Gautam

Hey, thank you so much for writing this. I feel very strongly about anti-smoking and anti-alcohol narratives. This was very informative. The last paragraph really gave me hope I would really like if you can share some helpline platform that help us quit.

Janvhi Agrawal

Really appreciate you for writing such detailed article on the effects of smoking. As even though a lot of people are aware, they still do and connecting it to psychology was very impressive.

Fatima Vinod

Amazing content! Keep up the good work!

Disha Dhage

this is good!
Keep Writing 🙂


Really nice work of your . I really love your all articles

Jigyasa vashistha

Amazing content

Nikita Sarma

Great article. The conclusion is well written. All of us know how bad is smoking. Yet people choose to do it. I feel like there could be points on how we can help someone who’s trying to stop their smoking addiction but for some reason they cannot. Otherwise, this article is one of the very good posts!