The same triad of fireworks, alcohol (usually including a hangover) and good intentions appears every year on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. The good intentions tend to be straightforward: You can simply pull out last year’s list, because usually the good intentions didn’t really work out after all.
If your list included or includes quitting smoking, there is now another argument that could encourage you in your endeavours. According to a new study from December 2023, smoking is not only harmful to your lungs and blood vessels, makes you look older more quickly and increases your risk of various types of cancer — smoking also causes your brain to shrink. At least this is the result of the study of over 30,000 smokers and non-smokers.
Although the differences are in the per mille range, they are nevertheless an unmistakable indication of the harmful effects of smoking on the brain. And while your lungs, for example, recover when you give up cigarettes, your brain remains what it is — smaller than it should be. And the logical conclusion is: with a smaller brain, cognitive performance decreases and with it the likelihood that future good intentions will be fulfilled.
With this in mind: here’s to a healthy, smoke-free New Year 2024!
You can find the original study here:
Chang Y, Thornton V, Chaloemtoem A, Anokhin AP, Bijsterbosch J, Bogdan R, Hancock DB, Johnson EO, Bierut LJ. Investigating the relationship between smoking behavior and global brain volume. Biological Psychiatry Global Open Science. Dec. 11, 2023. DOI: 10.1016/j.bpsgos.2023.09.006