Are all people that smoke cigarettes dumb? No. Are all non-smokers smart? No. But is smoking a dumb habit? Yes. Unless you think that a habit that costs $2,500 a year and shortens your life by ten to fifteen years is a good thing, I think we can all agree that smoking is dumb.
Ignoring individual cases and looking at the question as it applies to large groups of people, are smokers, in general, dumber than non-smokers? Yes, according to a study conducted last year at Tel Aviv University.
A study led by Prof. Mark Weiser of Tel Aviv University's Department of Psychiatry and the Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer Hospital has determined that young men who smoke are likely to have lower IQs than their non-smoking peers. Tracking 18- to 21-year-old men enlisted in the Israeli army in the largest ever study of its kind, he has been able to demonstrate an important connection between the number of cigarettes young males smoke and their IQ.
The average IQ for a non-smoker was about 101, while the smokers' average was more than seven IQ points lower at about 94, the study determined. The IQs of young men who smoked more than a pack a day were lower still, at about 90.
A Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index conducted earlier this year ranked each state in the country based on the percentage of people that smoke.
The top ten smoking states (including ties) are Kentucky, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Ohio, Missouri, West Virginia, Indiana, Tennessee, and Alabama.
In 2008 Barack Obama carried only Ohio, Missouri, and Indiana. In the 2004 election John Kerry carried none of these states.
Conversely, the ten states (also including ties) with the lowest percentage of smokers are Oregon, Idaho, Connecticut, New Jersey, Vermont, North Dakota, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Hawaii, California, and Utah.
The only red states in this group are Utah, Idaho, and North Dakota and if you consider that Utah and Idaho have large Mormon (non-smoking) populations, North Dakota is the only true red state in the bottom ten.
If smokers have lower IQs than non-smokers, and the states with the highest percentage of smokers vote Republican, it only stands to reason that Republicans are dumber than Democrats, right?
Maybe this explains how multimillionaires like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck are able to persuade middle and lower class Republicans to vote for the interests of the wealthy rather than their own interests.
Of course the way that elected leaders from both parties are bought and paid for by special interest groups, and basically ignore most of our best interests, aren't we all a little dumb for believing that the next election will be different?
Yes, I think that we are.