Studies have shown that smoking hurts your brain and increases your risk of losing your mental powers as you age. But researchers were shocked to find that if you add on another bad habit, it significantly multiplies your chances of destroying your thinking powers when you’re older.
Scientist at the University College London have found that smokers who drink alcohol to excess suffer a 36 percent faster decline in cognitive function compared to non-smokers who drink only moderately.
“Our research shows that cognitive decline was 36 percent faster in those people who reported both cigarette smoking and drinking alcohol above the recommended limits (14 units [drinks] per week for women, 21 units [drinks] per week for men),” says researcher Gareth Hagger-Johnson. “When we looked at people who were heavy-drinking smokers, we found that for every 10 years that they aged their brains aged the equivalent of 12 years.”
He adds: “Our study suggests that people should also be advised not to combine these two unhealthy behaviors — particularly from mid-life onwards. Healthy behaviors in midlife may prevent cognitive decline into early old age.”