Smoking Affects Mental Abilities

Older adults who smoke lose their mental faculties more quickly than those who don't smoke, according to research published in 2004 in the journal Neurology. The study looked at 9,000 elderly smokers and found that their cognitive abilities declined five times as quickly as nonsmokers. Those who smoked the most had the fastest decline, the study says.

It is important to note, however, that although studies have connected smoking and an increased risk for cognitive decline, the National Institutes of Health says that researchers still aren't sure whether this lifestyle choice actually causes it.