Smoking causes people to lose part of their 'everyday' memory, suggests researchers.
It was also found that kicking the habit restores memory capacity to almost the same level as people who have never smoked.
Academics from the Collaboration for Drug and Alcohol Research group at Northumbria University tested the 'real-world' memory of 70 students - 27 current smokers, 18 previous smokers and 24 non-smokers.
The study found smokers remembered just 59% of the tasks.
Previous smokers remembered 74% and those who had never smoked recalled 81% of tasks.
"Given that there are estimates of up to 10 million adults still smoking in the UK, it is important to understand not just the health consequences of smoking, but what effects it might have upon your everyday cognitive function – of which prospective memory is an excellent example," said authors Dr Tom Heffernan and Dr Terence O'Neill in a joint statement.
Both Heffernan and O'Neill will now research the impact second-hand smoke has on health and everyday cognition.