According to new research, smoking can hinder brain function – and not just among the elderly, as previously thought. A new study published in the journal ‘Stroke’ linked the well-studied, proven cardiovascular risks from smoking to cognitive decline even among younger adults. Researchers found that smoking as little as one cigarette a day for an extended period can decrease cognitive ability – and smoking more than 15 cigarettes daily inhibits critical thinking and memory by as much as 2 percent. The reason for this drop in brain power is directly linked to the harm that smoking does to the heart. “When there’s damage to heart vessels, there’s likely also damage to brain vessels,” says study author Dr. Hanneke Joosten of the University Medical Center in the Netherlands. “This is especially important for young adults to realize, because the burdens of unhealthy lifestyle choices often go unnoticed.” Whether they’re young or old, smokers now have another good health reason to put down those cigarettes for good.