The earliest recorded depiction of a man smoking a pipe, “Tobaco” by Anthony Chute (c. late 16th century).

Tobacco. Some people can’t stand it, and other’s can’t live without it. First recorded to have been used by the olden Mesopotamian and South American populaces, tobacco took the world by storm when it was introduced into Europe during the colonization of North America, where Eastern tribes traditionally carried tobacco around in pouches. When tobacco hit the shores of the Ottoman Empire via trade, doctors began to prescribe it as a type of medication for a variety of illnesses. Virtually no population in the world has gone untouched by the advent of tobacco. 

Cigarettes specifically possesses a certain charm to them. They’re convenient, usually pre-packaged in 20-25 boxes, and are easy to share with friends and are an easy way to ease the tension between new friends. However, in recent decades, several public health organizations have begun to petition against the smoking of tobacco for health reasons.

This is not new, however, and prohibitions on tobacco have been put into place in the past, with Pope Urban VII (a man who was the head of the entire Catholic Church for less than two weeks) placing a statement of excommunication on anyone who consumed tobacco near or within ecclesiastical premises. Anyone who “took tobacco in the porchway of or inside a church, whether it be by chewing it, smoking it with a pipe or sniffing it in powdered form through the nose,” were to be immediately excommunicated from the Church. This was back in the 16th century! 

Today, the tobacco control movement is internationally organized, with various local anti-smoking organizations often collaborating with other likeminded movements to further their goals. Tobacco  Control is very clear that its intent for the anti-smoking movement is not only to increase awareness of the risks of smoking, it is to eradicate the existence of smokers worldwide

Certainly, there are ailments that accompany the consumption of tobacco that have been documented in mountains of medical literature; however, there is a noticeable correlation between a nation’s average intelligence and its consumption of cigarettes. The follow statistics seem to indicate that there is some type of connection between smoking cigarettes and being intelligent. Whether the attraction to tobacco stems from a nihilistic approach to life, a distrust of what the medical community claims is caused by a lifestyle marked by constant tobacco intake, or is simply imposed upon a smoker by cultural influences, it is inarguable that the following statistics make a valid argument that smart people smoke more cigarettes. 

In Nigeria, only 6% of the population are regular smokers, and the average IQ is under 70, with some scholars placing the average black population in Nigeria at an astonishingly low 69. According to the Intelligence Quotient Percentile Chart, this low of an IQ means that the average Nigerian suffers from mild mental retardation, capable of only sustaining an elementary education.

In 2016, the African country of Uganda put into effect a federal ban prohibiting the smoking of tobacco in public places. According to the Tobacco Atlas, the amount of cigarettes smoked per person per year is a measly 41. You read that right. 41 cigarettes. Not 41 packs, not 41 cartons, 41 single cigarettes. One study predicted that only 15% of the Ugandan population smoked regularly. However, average IQ is approximately 84, placing it at the middle of the “low-average” side of the intelligence spectrum. 

Meanwhile, approximately 42% of the population in Greece admitted to being a regular smoking in a 2015 study. Seeing that the average IQ is a little over 92 for the Greek populace, and that the man with the highest IQ ever recorded was a native Greek, there is an inarguable pattern at work between smoking tobacco and high intelligence.

The People’s Republic of China produces a little less than half of the world’s total cigarettes. This might be connected to the fact that Chinese cigarettes cost under 40 cents per pack, but tobacco in China is a prevalent phenomenon that goes nearly untouched in the world. The amount of regular smokers in China is over a whopping 60% for men, and the average IQ of a Chinese citizen is somewhere between 101 and 108 depending on the region. China, one of the most intelligent countries on the planet, has an astronomically high smoking rate, whereas Nigeria, a country where mild mental retardation is considered “average” has a smoking rate 10 times lower than that of China’s.

It is objectively true, then, that countries with a higher national IQ average have an exponentially greater smoking rate than those with low IQs. Moreover, in 2010, a national study taken in the United States proved that children with higher intelligence, classified as “normal” (90-110 IQ), “bright” (110-125 IQ), and “very bright” (125 IQ+) are more likely to smoke cigarettes than their “dull” (75-90 IQ) or “very dull” (75 IQ or less) counterparts. According to the study, “the overall association between childhood intelligence and the consumption of tobacco is positive.  The more intelligent they [children] are in junior high and high school, the more tobacco they consume as young adults seven years later.” 

The statistics are in, and the data speaks for itself. Smart people smoke more cigarettes. The push for the societal abstinence of tobacco by global anti-smoking agencies is questionable insofar that it is seeking to do away with a popular luxury enjoyed by the intellectual elite who are the foundation of our civilizations. So, the next time you have a quiz you’re unprepared for, don’t bother cramming in study-time. Instead, rip the plastic off that cigarette pack and light one up in the name of science.