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Secondhand smoking damages memory
2012.09.12
It was found that non-smokers who are frequently exposed to secondhand smoke face memory problems, according to a new research study of Northumbria University which had been newly published at the latest issue for the journal “Addiction”.
 
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 27 current smokers with two groups of non-smokers – those who were regularly exposed to secondhand smoke with an average of 25 hours a week (24 participants) and those who were not (28 participants) .
 
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 secondhand 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 second-hand smoking.
 
“Our findings suggest that the deficits associated with secondhand 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 secondhand smoke, health problems and everyday cognitive function as well as encourage smoking cessation.” Dr Heffernan said.
 
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