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Drush545's avatar

Does chain smoking cigarettes impair you mentally or something?

Asked by Drush545 (229points) December 7th, 2014

I guess what I mean is can smoking lots of cigarettes all the time make you mentally slower? This may sound crazy but even after its just been a day since I last smoked I begin to get a lot more alert, focused and mentally sharp and even more witty. Could this possibly have something to do with the Nicotine clearing my system and my lungs beginning to heal so more oxygen is getting to my brain somehow?

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12 Answers

ibstubro's avatar

Likely withdraw.

Quitting is not easy, but it can be done. I quit over 15 years ago, and have lived with a smoker the past 10. Zyban helped me, in that it curbed my appetite so there was no weight gain. Altoids spearmints helped, too, as they’re strong enough to give you something to inhale, and occupy your mouth.

Be prepared for any mood or emotion, as you’re likely to hit most of them.

I carried my cigarettes and lighter with me for weeks, because they say that if you try to deprive yourself, eventually you will reach the point where you’ll say, “By god, if I had a smoke right now, I would!” Thereby making a liar out of yourself, the next cigarette you meet.

crhutchens's avatar

I’ve been a smoker for 40 years.Have tried to quit many times.right now I’m swapping between the new “Vapor E-Cigs,and regular smokes.For me smoking actually clams me down,gets rid of my stress.It’s all in the nicotine,no it’s never made me mentally slower,depends on the person everyone is different

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I’m a former smoker. Gave up a long time ago.

While there is evidence that suggests nicotine is a stimulant and increases concentration and memory. There is also research that argues chronic nicotine use damages the brain and ”[c]hronic smoking is related to global brain atrophy and to structural and biochemical abnormalities in anterior frontal regions, subcortical nuclei and commissural white matter. Chronic smoking may also be associated with an increased risk for various forms of neurodegenerative diseases.” A common side effect of nicotine withdrawal is drowsiness and lack of concentration. However, very quickly you would experience increased oxygenation of your blood which I’d guess could lead to you feeling more energetic and stimulated.

Whatever it is, enjoy it and keep going. As the Stanford document shows, every hour you resist further heals your body.

zenvelo's avatar

Your brain works better when it is more oxygenated. So absent smoke it is thinking clearer because of better oxygen flow.

Stay with it, I quit cold turkey from a two pack a day Marlboro habit. The hardest day is day three, so just promise yourself it will be better the next day and the day after that.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Um, when I smoked nicotine sharpened my concentration. When I chewed nicotine gum it had the same effect. While it was hard to quit it’s worth doing and you CAN do it. You just have to suck it up and spend a few weeks going through the withdrawal. Cold turkey is the quickest way but nicotine replacement works also if and ONLY if you are deliberate about cutting down the dosage slowly.

ibstubro's avatar

Stick with it.

If you could smell the first exhale of my S/O’s breath after the car window’s rolled up, you’d have no trouble going cold turkey. Like shoving a cigarette butt up your nose. Worse, even. Borderlining on charred flesh. Like a death camp. Charred, but from the inside out.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Cessation absolutely has a positive effect. The blood oxygen levels of smokers are lower than non smokers. You can find many technical papers on the subject. Here is a draft copy of one from a student at Purdue. The data is from “young” subjects – presumably Purdue students. The references at the end will have much more data for you.
Your lungs begin to repair themselves within an hour of your last cigarette.
Nicotine will trick you but walking up a couple of flights of stairs and checking your heart and breathing rates will speak the truth. Go for it!

Bill1939's avatar

Smoking tobacco does seem to stimulate the mind. When I worked in a TV repair shop and had difficulty determining the cause of a unit’s malfunction, I would take a break and have a cigarette. The nicotine seemed to help me find the solution. The reason for the resolution may have been the act of shifting my attention away from the problem. However, pausing for a cup of coffee seldom produced the same result.

@LuckyGuy wrote, “Your lungs begin to repair themselves within an hour of your last cigarette.” However, this is not true for damage to the lungs caused by long-term smoking. I quit for eight years without apparent improvement in my lungs functioning. When I asked my doctor about it, he said that the ability for lungs to repair themselves is a myth. I have not been able to completely give up my nicotine addiction, and smoke a pipe once or twice a day.

While quitting tobacco will eventually have a positive effect on one’s thinking, as the body adjusts to functioning without a regular intake of nicotine one often experiences changes in their mood, swinging from depression to hostility. Despite the temporary stimulating effect on the mind, the amount of oxygen the brain receives is diminished while the amount of carbon dioxide is increased. These undesirable effects are good reasons to quit smoking.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Oooo!!! Here’s a test you can run to prove your vision and reaction time is improving after you quit.
About ¼ of the cars on the road have LED tail lights that flash at varying rates by manufacturers. If you have good vision, are totally sober and have not smoked you can move your eyes from side to side slightly and you’ll notice the strobing when you drive at night. Try it the next time you are driving on the highway or major roadway. (You have to do this when the cars up ahead are not using their brakes since the LEDs are on full at that time and are not strobing.)
When the cars up ahead are moving do their tail lights look like they are flashing? Now ask a smoker to try it and compare results. They will think you are making it up until you get another non-smoker in the car and both of you pick out the exact same vehicles. The lights are flashing so fast the smoker can’t perceive it but the non-smoker can. The non-smoker’s retina, optic nerve, reaction time combination is faster.
Some cars flash at 50Hz while others are going as fast as 300 Hz. There might be even faster. This gives you the opportunity to see how you improve. You will only see the 50 Hz cars first then more and more as you improve. (Or fewer and fewer as you age.)

LuckyGuy's avatar

Here is an easier test for you – and you don’t need to be driving!
Find a Christmas tree decorated with color changing LED lights. Set it to white light. Those LEDs are flashing at 60 Hz. Move your head side to side. Do you see the strobing? If you are well oxygenated, healthy, sober, and have good static vision you’ll see it. Smokers likely won’t.
If the strobing is visible to you, it means your optical sensing and processing system is capable of detecting and resolving a pulse of light ~ 8 ms on and ~8 ms off. If you can see tail lights at 250 Hz it means you can resolve ~2 ms on and 2 ms off. Your system is 6 ms faster than the person who only sees 60 Hz.
The person who does not see the light strobing has a system response slower than 8 ms. You can’t tell how much slower unless you have a variable light source. You can only say for sure it is slower.

If you smoke, quit. You will start to improve as your blood oxygen levels rise and toxins are broken down and removed. You will see the improvement every time you admire a new Christmas tree. Good health is one of the best presents you can give yourself.

BTW, Can you tell I love being able to play with laboratory test equipment?

abacusaah's avatar

Well personally I think smoking is injurious to health. Even I am also a smoker and I believe that smoking can disturb heart which will automatically disturb the whole body.

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