Smoking is good for you!

Just kidding, seriously. But nicotine does enhance our ability to think, perform and take tests. Thanks to new research, scientists now know it increases our memory function, too.

Up to now, results about nicotine’s effects on boosting human performance were mixed. Dr. Stephen Heishman, a scientist with theĀ National Institute on Drug Abuse (part of the National Institutes of Health) said that in the past, researchers kept doing studies on the effects of nicotine and human performance without taking into account the drug’s harsh withdrawal effects. Instead, they’d ask subjects to go eight or 12 hours without smoking before testing their brain functions. He says it wasn’t surprising that as soon as nicotine was administered in those cases, performance improved.

Having a better understanding of nicotine’s effects, including withdrawal effects, can lead to more effective quitting tactics. If we know that nicotine is the reason why we feel more alert when we smoke, for example, developing medicines that mimic nicotine’s role can make quitting seem like less of an impossible task.