What Bad Decision Will Smoking Cause You To Make?

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Here's yet another reason why you shouldn't light up. A new study, conducted by the University of California, Los Angeles, says that smoking cigarettes in your teen years can alter the development of your brain, making you more susceptible to reckless behavior and less skilled at decision-making.

According to AOL Health, UCLA researchers took MRI brain scans of 25 smokers and 25 non-smokers between the ages of 15 and 21 while they performed a cognitive test called the Stop-Signal Task. Pairing their results with a questionnaire to gauge nicotine addiction levels, the scientists found that those who were most addicted to nicotine had the least amount of prefrontal cortex activity.
This finding is alarming because the prefrontal cortex is the region of the brain that controls decision-making. Delayed development in this area can cause weak cognitive control, and prevent teens from making one key decision.

"Such an effect can influence the ability of youth to make rational decisions regarding their well-being, and that includes the decision to stop smoking," Edythe London, the study's senior author said in a statement.

Since most adult smokers pick up the habit as teens, this makes sense. According to the study, 80 percent of adult smokers become dependent on nicotine by age 18, and teens who don't smoke, usually don't start later in life.

More than 400,000 deaths each year are attributed to smoking cigarettes. Seems like a pretty vicious cycle. What do you think of the new study? Are you surprised by its findings? %Poll-61336%

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