Secondhand Smoke Can Damage the Brain

Passive Smoke is HarmfulPassive smoking, also known as secondhand smoke, has been found to impair cognition according to British researchers from the University of Cambridge. In their recent study, nonsmokers with the heaviest secondhand smoke exposure were at a 44% higher risk of scoring in the bottom 10% on cognitive testing, compared with those with the lowest level of passive smoking.  

People over fifty were included in this clinical trial, but other studies have also connected secondhand smoke exposure to impaired cognition in both children and adolescents.

Passive smoking has also been found to be a risk factor for heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, tuberculosis,  breast cancer, psoriasis, glucose intolerance, and other chronic medical conditions.

The results from a number of studies affirm that public interventions which prohibit smoking can have an enormous impact on public health.  In fact several studies have provided evidence that smoking bans have not only reduced respiratory symptoms among workers in service industries, but hospitalizations for acute myocardial infarction in the general population have significantly decreased.

Source: “Secondhand Smoke Linked to Adult Cognitive Impairment’, MedPage Today, February 15, 2009
Source: Llewellyn D, et al “Exposure to secondhand smoke and cognitive impairment in non-smokers: national cross sectional study with cotinine measurement” BMJ 2009; DOI: 10.1136/bmj.b462.
Source: Menzies D et al. “Respiratory Symptoms, Pulmonary Function, and Markers of Inflammation Among Bar Workers Before and After a Legislative Ban on Smoking in Public Places.” JAMA. 2006;296:1742-1748

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