Passive SmokingPlenty is said about all those health risks and possible damage linked to passive smoking, but for many people it can still be a surprise to learn that passive smoking is not less, and sometimes even more harmful to our health than actual tobacco smoking. Passive smoking, or being in a close proximity to those who are smoking tobacco and breathing in the fumes, is a serious factor that increases out risks of cardiovascular diseases including coronary heart disease, various circulatory system problems like varicose veins, breast cancer, lung cancer, nose, ear and throat infections, asthma, a great variety of allergic reactions, skin problems like brittle skin or dermatitis, and many other unwanted health conditions. Unfortunately, a huge number of people in modern world are smokers, and for the rest of us in order to avoid exposure to second-hand cigarette smoke we need to stay in special smoke-free zones in public areas. However, not every public place or workplace can offer us this opportunity.

It was known before that passive smoking and any kind of exposure to second-hand smoke is linked to mental health worsening. Years ago, in February 2009, the findings of a joint scientific team from of experts from University of Cambridge, University of Michigan and Peninsula Medical School, Exeter, were published in the British Medical Journal, saying that passive smoking  and exposure to second-hand smoke is associated with quite serious cognitive impairment. This was quite a massive study which included working with the data collected for about 10 years on over 4,800 adult participants aged 50 and above. Alzheimer's RiskAs this scientific group managed to find out, passive smokers demonstrated at least 10 per cent decrease in their cognitive and mental abilities compared to non-smokers who are not exposed to second-hand smoke. An extensive report about the findings of this study is available here, and the necessity of further studies aiming to analyze the risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s risk for passive smokers came up as one of the main conclusions of the study.

Finally, a group of the researchers from Anhui Medical University in China and King’s College London finished their study and published their findings about the links between passive smoking and Alzheimer’s risk. They worked with the information and extensive data on about 6,000 people from 5 provinces of China, all aged 60+. In 2001-2003 and 2007-2008, the volunteers went through a series of tests aiming to assess their mental abilities and risks of dementia. Also, such factor as their second-hand smoke exposure was primarily taken into account. After the second series of tests (2007-2008), it became apparent that for the stated period of time, about every one of ten participants has developed the signs of severe dementia. Those were the participants both among smokers and non-smokers, including those who’ve never smoked tobacco and those who managed to beat this nasty habit. After analyzing the factor of being exposed to second-hand smoke, the scientists came to a conclusion that it really plays a role in elevating Alzheimer’s risk. At that, both duration and the level of second-hand smoke exposure appeared to be important.

Passive smoking should be considered an important risk factor for severe dementia syndromes, as this study in China shows,” said Dr Ruoling Chen, a researcher from King’s College in London and one of the study authors. He suggested everyone of us do everything possible to reduce our second-hand smoke exposure in order to lower our dementia and Alzheimer’s risk, as well as the risk of the mentioned serious health conditions. Chinese specialists say that in our times, the prevalence of passive smoking remains very high, and it is estimated that every one of two people in the most developed countries of the world is exposed to second hand smoke on a daily basis. In particular, China which is considered one of the most smoking countries of the world, has quite high rates of dementia, and those continue increasing steadily in the latest years. ‘More campaigns against tobacco exposure in the general population will help decrease the risk of severe dementia syndromes and reduce the dementia epidemic worldwide,’ Chen said. Read more about the findings of the Chinese researchers in this report.


Author Info: Hi! My name is Carla and I am a 5th year medical student at HYMS. I am interested in alternative medicine and I have done months researching the topic of herbal medicine. Besides, I like interviewing people and learning more about their experiences with one or another type of herbal treatments. I am willing to contribute to this site with my knowledge, and I would be happy to help you out to the best of my ability with any specific questions or problems related to alternative medicine.

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