Home > Smoking impedes executive function and related prospective memory.

Heffernan, TM and Carling, A and O'Neill, TS and Hamilton, C (2014) Smoking impedes executive function and related prospective memory. Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine, 31, (3), pp. 159-165. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/ipm.2014.17.

Objective: This study assessed both executive function (EF) and prospective memory (PM) in a group of current smokers (CS) to observe whether deficits in both sets of memory processes co-existed in smokers, comparing this group with a group who had never smoked (NS).

Method: An existing-groups design was used to compare smokers with the NS group on a Reserve Digit Span Task (RDST) that measured EF and the Cambridge Prospective Memory Test (CAMPROMPT) measuring PM. Age, mood, other drug use and IQ were also measured and controlled for in the study.

Results: After omitting anyone using an illegal substance and observing no between-group differences in age, gender, anxiety, depression, alcohol use and IQ, the CS group performed significantly worse on the RDST and recalled significantly fewer time-based and event-based tasks on CAMPROMPT, compared with the NS group.

Conclusions: Both EF and PM deficits were evident in the same cohort of CS when compared with a NS group, a finding which is novel in the current literature. Since both EF and PM are interrelated in that they share common resources in the brain, the finding that both sets of deficits co-existed in smokers suggests that persistent cigarette smoking impedes these underlying resources.

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Article
Drug Type
Tobacco / Nicotine
Intervention Type
Harm reduction
September 2014
Identification #
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/ipm.2014.17
Page Range
pp. 159-165
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