Many cigarette and e-cigarette smokers attest that they think more clearly than non-smokers.
Whilst this might appear a subjective comment to most of the population, smokers also point out the social advances helped along by nicotine.
In short, nicotine helps to improve cognitive abilities and thinking.
Before continuing, I feel obliged to say the following. First, no one is encouraging anyone to start smoking. Secondly, the news about nicotine is not all bad. Thirdly, the content below helps to explain why some smokers and e-cigarette users do not wish to give up.
ELI5, an e-cigarette smoker (and probably someone for whom English is a second language), began an interesting discussion on Reddit. Part of his premise follows (emphases mine):
I wonder often why nicotine is so universally despised on reddit. If we look at the effects of culture after tobacco was brought from America to Europe in the 1500s there is an immediate effect of: The renaissance, scientific revolution, explosion of democracy, literature, arts. Most of the famous scientists and inventors of the twentieth century smoked, including Einstein, Hubble, Tesla, Edison, Oppenheimer and more. The most famous american writer ever: Mark Twain was an avid smoker.
If you look at country wide smoking, it is clear th[at] the countries with the fastest growth have the most smokers. Germany, for example, regularly the top exporter in the world, ha[s] about 50% more smokers than America.
Smoking helps with weight loss. It’s been argued that obesity related illnesses make up the largest percentage of America’s health care expenditures. Obesity is also correlated with marked cognitive decline.
It just boggles my mind why something that has so many society wide benefits is so universally despised on Reddit …
Because it seems like there is an agenda to kill nicotine consumption in America. I suppose that health care has a lot to benefit from this as cigarette consumption generally is a much more efficient killer than obesity related illnesses. There’s more money to get from it. Please someone who knows something, try to explain why it does seem like there is a battle to ban nicotine, and not necessarily smoking.
People simply work better – up to 30% better – when they’re smoking than when they’re not. And they maintain concentration for longer. Nicotine is a performance-enhancing drug. It’s a ‘work-drug’.
It’s certainly true in my experience. I concentrate better when I’m smoking. Whenever I think hard about anything, I reach for the tobacco. And when I’m not thinking about anything, I don’t.
Tobacco seems to be unusual among drugs in that it doesn’t have strong psychotropic effects. This isn’t true of alcohol or cannabis or opium, all of which have quite strong psychotropic effects, which increase with the amount consumed. But there isn’t anything that can really be called a tobacco ‘high’, in my experience. Perhaps just a slight lift ...
Yet the war on smoking always proceeds on the assumption that there are no benefits from smoking, but only costs. Antismokers dismiss all benefits, and exaggerate the costs. And this is likely to backfire on them in the end, when the people eventually find out that they’ve been lied to …
Frank helped to edit a well-researched article on smoking, nicotine and the brain by two Danes, Niels Ipsen, an environmental biologist and Klaus Kjellerup, a researcher.
The two men present their findings in ‘Science is conclusive: Tobacco increases work capacity’. Excerpts follow, but, whatever side of the nicotine debate you find yourself on, it is an informative and well researched article, well worth reading.
Emphases in the original, purple highlights mine.
A recent and thorough study of nicotine and cognition is revealing:
- In 2010 the U.S. government published a groundbreaking meta-analysis, which summarizes the last 40 years of knowledge about tobacco and nicotine effects on the brain. The analysis was conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, headed by researcher Stephen Heishman: Meta-analysis of the acute effects of nicotine and smoking on human performance. Abstract: (3) – full text (4).
The results in Heishman’s analysis gives the clear impression that it could turn out to be a very bad idea to try to “eradicate” tobacco. For nicotine has positive impacts in the areas of motor skills, attention, focus, speed and memory – and the effect is significant, the researchers say: The results are not due to statistical chance.
Heishman’s team examined all 256 published non-medicinal nicotine tests carried out since 1994 when they conducted a similar study. The tests measured both the effect of cigarettes on smokers – and the effect of non-smoking nicotine on non-smokers.
- 48 of the best quality trials were selected for the meta-analysis following strict scientific criteria: They had to be placebo controlled – with nicotine-free patches and nicotine-free cigarettes – and double blinded, so no subjects knew whether they had received nicotine or not.
Furthermore only trials in which none of the smokers were craving tobacco were used. Thus Heishman excluded the risk that smokers may have performed unusually well because of their relief from the withdrawal effect.
Furthermore, many people today are surprised to find that famous personalities from various walks of life were — and are — smokers:
- The positive effect on the brain may explain why many of history’s greatest scientists have been avid smokers – for example Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein, both of whom praised the effect of tobacco on their scientific thinking.
Furthermore, it is known that many athletes, creative people, stage performers, writers, musicians and artists through time have been smokers. The nicotine in cigarettes appears to have been particularly important for people who need to produce something unique or competitive in their work.
- Top footballers, in particular, have often surprised the media when it emerged that they were avid smokers, while they were at the peak of their careers. For example, the puritanical British media people couldn’t imagine that a top player like Wayne Rooney would be able to deliver top performances for his team, when they revealed it as a scandal, that Rooney is a smoker (5).
- The truth is however, that some of the world’s most creative stars – like Zinedine Zidane, Diego Maradona, Johan Cruyff, Ronaldo, Dimitar Berbatov and many other players from the highest levels of football – were avid smokers while they were at the top of their careers – including the Danish 80’s hero, Preben Elkjaer …
The effects also suggest an answer to the puzzle of why people start smoking and continue on a permanent basis – and the proof comes paradoxically from the results of the effect of nicotine on non-smokers, who also perform better when they get nicotine gum. Heishman writes:
“… [The fact that] the results are also found among non-smokers is an indirect evidence that nicotine performance enhancing effects may be the reason why people start smoking.”
The two Danes discuss more studies from past and present which demonstrate that nicotine helps drivers, pilots and workers in general.
Speaking of the last — workers — the article tells us that higher rates of smoking increase labour productivity. This could help to at least partly explain the surprising rise of the BRICS countries’ economic performance to that of those in the West:
In a somewhat unscientific way, it is probably safe to say that if non-nicotine users perform 1.0, then nicotine users will perform up to 1.25 – with smokers as the absolute top performers. At the same time nicotine users – especially smokers – who fail to maintain nicotine levels will perform down to 0.75.
- This fact raises the question: Can nicotine have had a beneficial effect on innovation & growth in the economy in the last century? If this is true, it may help to explain why the productivity of labor in the western world has decreased slightly each year since the 1970s, when the official health campaigns began to reduce the number of smokers.
One can also raise questions about whether the numerous smoking bans in workplaces could have contributed to the recent large productivity decline. In Denmark an unexpected and inexplicable collapse in labor productivity was apparent in 2007 and 2008 – right after the state banned smoking in all Danish workplaces. (19 – 20)
Moving on to other sources, a study published in the June 1995 issue of Psychopharmacology about the effect nicotine has on inspection time (IT) reveals (emphases mine):
IT was significantly shorter in the smoking condition as compared to both the no-smoking or sham-smoking conditions, suggesting that nicotine enhances early information processing. This result is of particular interest because of the correlation between IT and IQ reported in previous experiments. The nicotine related decrease in IT raises the possibility that nicotine enhances at least a subset of the physiological processes underlying intellectual performance.
Even older non-smokers could benefit from clinically-managed nicotine intake via patches or other pharmaceutical delivery methods. This study comes from the American Academy of Neurology and was published in January 2012:
This study looked at nicotine in people with mild cognitive impairment, which is the stage between normal aging and dementia when people have mild memory or thinking problems but no significant disability …
After six months of treatment, the nicotine-treated group regained 46 percent of normal performance for age on long-term memory, whereas the placebo group worsened by 26 percent over the same time period …
Nicotine stimulates receptors in the brain that are important for thinking and memory skills.
These are a few of the benefits of nicotine. Many great social, artistic and technological advances came about thanks to smoking, which stimulates thinking.
Scientists are finally waking up to the benefits of nicotine. Yes, it is useful. Its benefits are one reason that the remaining smoking population does not wish to quit.
The following is likely to happen with less tobacco or nicotine use. This observation comes from someone who knows the reality of today’s San Francisco scene:
People are very “doped up” in SF and I see them daily, hear them talking about it, lauding one anti-depressant over the other and many of them ex-smokers. They have simply substituted the use and words like Wellbutrin, Chantrix, Paxil or countless others, the way 30 years ago they’d have spoken about and used the words Marlboro, Winston or Lucky Strikes. The one has substituted for the others, but their eyes are truly glassy, “doped up” and should someone spot a smoker, even at a distance, quite a rile has to be made over it, by someone in the crowd, so that feeling of anti-smoking comaraderie becomes manifested and “all is well”, “normal”, the way it’s been packaged and presented, in the propaganda, which is inescapable. I am just relaying some facts, very common daily real life situations, as I have observed them.
SF was also where they signed the UN treaty after WWII, the same UN which gave birth to the WHO and the international tobacco treaty, the international global warming based treaties and soon international gun banning treaties, which has led to the global state of things currently, which are very top down, a command economy and political system. There are historical roots in that city …
I feel frightened to think what will happen when some of what I see currently, in SF, is called “a great success” by the social engineers, then pushed onto unsuspecting populations across the US and thousands of miles away across the seas. They may not even see it coming, but it should be felt physically to those who will be affected by each piece of pre-tested evil social and political structure when it hits their shores, out of the blue, everyone blind to the source from where it has been first tested and honed to a fine art.
Cleansing the world the San Francisco globalist way will not be a good thing. In fact, far from it. But I digress.