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Smoking Isn’t Smart – But Are Smokers?

An Israeli researcher says that on average, young male smokers tend to have lower IQs than young male non smokers.

Prof. Mark Weiser of Tel Aviv University's ran a study on more than 20 000 army recruits in Israel. Military service is compulsory in Israel, and so the subjects were from diverse backgrounds and socio-economic situations. All subjects were in good health, as required for entrance into the army and between 18 and 21 years of age.

Professor Weiser looked at intelligence as measured by IQ testing and compared that to smoking status, and for smokers, by the number of cigarettes smoked per day. He found that:

  • The average IQ of non smokers tested was 101
  • The average IQ for smokers was 94
  • The average IQ for men who smoked a pack a day or more was 90

An IQ score of 100 is considered average and an IQ score of between 84 and 116 is considered a normal range score.

Weiser commented on the study, saying, "People on the lower end of the average IQ tend to display poorer overall decision-making skills when it comes to their health.” He says that knowing that lower IQ children are at increased risk to smoke cigarettes could lead to special health interventions for this at risk population.

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