London: Here's the perfect reason to kick the butt -- smoking makes men stupid, say researchers.
   
A new study, published in the 'Archives of General Psychiatry' journal's online edition, has found that smoking is bad for the brain, especially for male smokers, who tend to have a more rapid mental decline than men who do not smoke.
   
But the study has not revealed a similar link between smoking and mental decline in female smokers.    

"While we were aware that smoking is a risk factor for lung diseases, cancer, and cardiovascular disease, this study shows also its detrimental effect on cognitive ageing. This detrimental effect is evident as soon as (age) 45," said lead author Severine Sabia of University College London.
   
And it's not just the pack-a-day crowd that needs to worry. The so-called social smokers also put their brains at risk whenever they light up, the study claims.
   
"Intermittent smokers showed the same cognitive decline as persistent smokers, showing the importance of definitive smoking cessation," Sabia was quoted by the media as saying.
   
For their study, the researchers analysed data from nearly 6,000 men and more than 2,100 women who were British civil servants. To evaluate their thinking abilities, all the subjects were given their first mental assessment at midlife, an average age of 56.
 
The assessment included five tests of memory, vocabulary, and reasoning (verbal and mathematics) skills. Participants were retested two more times (every five years) over a decade.
   
To determine volunteers' smoking habits over a 25-year period, the researchers looked at their then-current smoking status and past history, including whether they had quit or relapsed.
   
Faster mental decline was seen in middle-age men who currently smoked than men who never did; however, former smokers who had been off fags for at least 10 years showed no increase in cognitive decline compared to men who had never smoked, the findings revealed.

(Agencies)