11 January 2013
Dementia link to second-hand smoke
Researchers have discovered that breathing in other peoples cigarette smoke increases the risk of severe dementia. It is the first study to show a significant link between passive smoking and the disease.
The study was conducted by scientists from Anhui Medical University in China and King’s College London on 6,000 Chinese participants aged over 60. The team studied the participants for dementia syndromes between 2001 and 2003 and then again in 2007 and 2008, and also monitored their exposure to second-hand smoke.
The results showed that 10% of the group had developed severe dementia syndromes. This
development was significantly related to both the exposure level and duration of passive smoking.
Study leader Dr Ruoling Chen, from King’s College, said, “Passive smoking should be considered an important risk factor for severe dementia syndromes, as this study in China shows. Avoiding exposure to ETS (environmental tobacco smoker) may reduce the risk of severe dementia syndromes.”
Dr Chen added, “The increased risk of severe dementia syndromes in those exposed to passive smoking is similar to increased risk of coronary heart disease. At present, we know that about 90 per cent of the world’s population live in countries without smoke-free public areas. More campaigns against tobacco exposure in the general population will help decrease the risk of severe dementia syndromes and reduce the dementia epidemic worldwide.”