Whilst the idea of taking drugs to enhance cognition and mental alertness is not a new concept, the overall design of taking drugs such as cigarette in other to boost academic performance is little known. In a research conducted in the department of psychology, Reading University, England, smokers and nonsmokers were compared on grounds of academic achievement and in the first year, the same percentage of smokers and nonsmokers were successful in the examinations, but smokers recorded higher marks than nonsmokers. Smokers also recorded higher marks in their final year exams as compared to nonsmokers. Finally, a comparison of the tutorial essay marks also saw smokers topping. By now, I’m some thoughts are already running through your mind and you are probably considering the prospect of becoming a smoker so you can boost your cognitive performance, right? Well that mustn’t be so fast!
According to the centers for Disease control and prevention, smoking causes 480,000 deaths each year in the US and about one in five deaths. A report from the US Department of Health and Human Services had it that tobacco use can increase your risk of developing osteoporosis, coronary heart disease and high blood pressure and you’ll agree with me that an unhealthy student will less likely meet up with his healthy counterparts. In fact, according to the Tobacco Technical Assistance Consortium:
- College students who use tobacco were shown to have lower GPA’s than those who didn’t.
- College students who smoke had higher rates of respiratory infections as well as higher incidence of bacterial meningitis.
Of a truth, nicotine which is a naturally occurring component found in tobacco (cigarette) enhances memory and learning by increasing the brain chemical, acetylcholine, nicotine is said to be responsible for its numerous health hazards and addictiveness. However, current studies suggest that isolated nicotine exhibits few documented health hazards and acetaldehyde—another chemical found in tobacco was found to dramatically improve the addictive properties of nicotine.
As nature would have it, nicotine is a naturally occurring and is also contained in foods in the nightshades family, they include:
NB: The nicotine content in foods is relatively small—you would have to eat twenty pounds of eggplant to get the nicotine equivalent of one cigarette. However, recent studies have it that eating foods from this family is protective against Parkinson’s disease and nicotine in food can prevent at least one brain disorder.