ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How Smoking Effects Your Brain

Updated on December 18, 2013

Smoking not only affects your appearance but also affect s your major organs and their functioning. Since the brain has a property called plasticity, it is easily altered by the influences of the environment. An individual that smokes creates a harsh environment for the brain, greatly influencing and altering it from the outside in.


Perhaps the most obvious consequence of smoking on the brain is become addicted to a drug known as nicotine, which is found in tobacco. Addiction is the obsession with having the drug. It becomes a habit. You feel like you physically and mentally need nicotine. The brain makes you feel like you need it, giving you intense cravings.

Euphoria or Elation

The chemicals contained in tobacco products also play a role in the brain. Not just nicotine. These chemicals cause the neurotransmitters in the brain to produce chemicals that make you feel good, happy and elated. These chemicals that can make you feel joyous are known as opioids. Interestingly enough, the feelings these opioids cause in the brain are actually the same feelings that drugs such as morphine and heroin trigger. So smoking affects the brain just like heroin.


I’ve heard this from a couple family members who are smokers. They claim it helps them to relax, calming their nerves. They often turn to it when they are placed in stressful situations. However, as you smoke more and more, you build up a tolerance level. Eventually, the nicotine no longer helps you feel relaxed once you build up that tolerance level. You will actually need increasing levels of nicotine just to function at a level that you would normally function. Nicotine will begin to make you more stressed.

There are other chemicals to consider with cigarettes. A chemical known as acetaldehyde, is a byproduct of the smoke from cigarettes, play a role in this relaxing, soothing feelings. There is even carbon monoxide in cigarettes. This will make you feel sort of dull, like you’re in a stuffy room where there isn’t quite enough air. This kind of environment helps to release the tension that you feel, along with anger and negative emotions.



Though, physicians don’t exactly understand how smoking affects memory, after several long term studies, they’ve found that it does. The chemicals in cigarettes and cigars impair mental function and can actually lessen and weaken your cognitive abilities and memory. Smoking causes memory loss, making it hard for you to retain information, both short term and long term.


Smoking causes the nerves in your brain to become inflamed, not due to nicotine however. When looking at brain inflammation, the compound NNK, plays an important role. It’s presences is found in most tobacco products. Not only could it eventually lead to Alzheimer’s (a disease that deals with cognitive functioning), but can lead to multiple sclerosis (a potentially debilitating disease having effects on the nerves in your nervous system). Also, after NNK is metabolized by the body, it becomes a carcinogenic compound (can cause cancer).

Is your brain rotting?

Researchers at King’s College London found that smoking literally “rots” the brain away. This was a large study which included nearly 9000 people. During their investigation, looking for links involving the state of the brain and heart attacks or strokes, they found an overall decline in the brain- smoker’s brains is rotting away with every puff.

The brain is a very important part of our body. Imagine yourself without your brain- you’d be nothing. Physicians are working on replacing organs all the time- we even have something called an artificial heart. Even if physicians were to one day develop a lab-grown brain that could function as a human brain does…replacing a person’s brain would be pretty much unthinkable. We wouldn’t be the same person. Smoking takes a great many tolls on the brain, along with the rest of your body. There are many sites, articles and products that can help you to quit smoking- but, when quitting smoking, the thing that has the most power is still your brain.


Submit a Comment

No comments yet.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)