According to researchers at Northumbria University in the UK, non-smokers who live with or spend time with smokers are damaging their memories.
The findings, published in the latest online edition of the journal
Addiction is the first study to explore the relationship between second hand tobacco smoke and everyday memory problems.
Dr Tom Heffernan and Dr Terence O’Neil, both researchers at the
Collaboration for Drug and Alcohol Research Group at Northumbria
University, compared a group of current smokers with two groups of
non-smokers – those who were regularly exposed to second-hand smoke and
those who were not.
Those exposed to second-hand smoke
reported being exposed to second-hand smoke for an average of 25 hours a
week for an average of four and a half years.
The three groups were tested on time-based memory (remembering to carry
out an activity after some time) and event-based memory (which refers to
memory for future intentions and activities).
Researchers found that the non-smokers who had been exposed to
second-hand smoke forgot almost 20% more in the memory tests than those
non-smokers not exposed. However, both groups out-performed the current
smokers who forgot 30% more than those who were not exposed to
“According to recent reports by the World Health
Organisation, exposure to second-hand smoke can have serious
consequences on the said Heffernan.
“Our findings suggest that the deficits associated with second-hand
smoke exposure extend to everyday cognitive function. We hope our work
will stimulate further research in the field in order to gain a better
understanding of the links between exposure to second-hand smoke, health
problems and everyday cognitive function.”
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