As someone who is currently suffering a severe brain injury as a result of trauma I have a new found interest in the brain and things that affect it. I found an amazing site on the affects of nicotine on the brain which I fully intend to quote heavily! Check it out here.
“The brain is connected to the heart and the lungs through arteries. These arteries supply oxygen and other chemicals to the brain. So, when a person smokes a cigarette, the chemicals inhaled are sent to the brain. The chemicals, particularly nicotine, reach the brain ten seconds after the smoke is inhaled and remains active for 20-40 minutes. After reaching [the brain], nicotine affects, changes and controls the specialized receptor cells (responsible for regulating the well-being, mood and memory) in the brain. This, in turn, changes the chemistry of the brain, which finally affects the smoker’s mood.”
In another article, they say that:
“Smoking reduces your IQ – Several researches have been conducted using a sample space of adults and teenagers, to determine that smoking cigarettes does reduce the IQ level on an individual. If you are a smoker, you would have realized that your capacity to work with analytical problems reduces after smoking. This reduction in mental capacity is attributed to the reduced oxygen supply to the brain and increased presence of carbon mono-oxide in the hemoglobin.
Smoking induces lack of concentration – The reduced oxygen supply to the brain also causes fatigue to creep in. It’s a common myth to believe that smoking enhances your ability to focus – the truth is quite the opposite. A smoker is bound to feel restless and fidgety due to impure or low oxygenated blood passing through the brain.
Cigarettes reduce your sex drive – It has been proven that smokers have a lower sex drive than normal men. One reason of course is the fatigue that sets into the body due to nervous stimulation caused by nicotine, the second reason is that the areas of brain responsible for sexual stimulation have lower receptors due to nicotine addiction. The brain automatically reduces its normal feel good receptors to guard against the excess of nicotine in the blood stream.
Smoking inhibits the natural “feel good” receptors in your brain – It’s proven by research that smokers are more liable to depressive moods because of the reduction of “feel good” receptors in their brain. The artificial stimulation of the areas of brain that control feelings of pleasure and reward causes the long term effect of reducing the receptors in this region. The symptoms of withdrawal creep in more quickly after each smoke due to the increased resistance developed in the brain.
Chronic smoking can increase your chances of a brain stroke – The presence of nicotine in the blood makes it thicker. Moreover the plague deposits on the arteries increase because of excessive smoking. This causes the arteries to lose their elasticity. The brain depends upon the arteries connecting to the heart for its supply of oxygenated blood. When these arteries lose their elasticity or get blocked due to excess plague deposit, it results in a stroke. The chances of a stroke increase by several multiples in a chronic smoker.
Excessive Smoking is linked to brain shrinkage – It has been found that in patients suffering from multiple sclerosis the chances of brain shrinkage and lesions increases while smoking. Brain injury is caused by the breakdown of barrier between the brain and blood vessels. Studies have also revealed that smokers tend to develop problems with motor functioning with time, actions like walking or talking might get impacted through excessive smoking. Many smokers have experienced fidgety hands and stuttering speech after having smoked a few cigarettes in a short span of time.
As you can see, the effects that smoking has on your brain are quite severe. Teenagers who take to smoking are at a higher risk because their brain is still in the development stage. Most adults who smoke don’t realize the harm cigarettes do to their brain, especially when they don’t indulge in mentally tasking activities, but the damage is being done steadily.”
As someone who is suffering due to decreased brain functionality and is patiently waiting to heal, perhaps we can think about the residual affects of smoking and do whatever we can to protect our most important organ, because trust me you’ll miss it once its gone even if its only temporarily.