Exposure to second-hand smoke could increase the risk of developing dementia and other forms of cognitive impairment, according to research published on the British Medical Journal website.
A possible link between active smoking and cognitive impairment has already been established and previous findings also suggest that second-hand smoke exposure could be linked to poor cognitive performance in children and adolescents. However, this is the first large-scale study to conclude that second-hand smoke exposure could lead to dementia and other neurological problems.
The authors, Dr David Llewellyn and his research team from the University of Cambridge, Peninsula Medical School and the University of Michigan, examined saliva samples from almost 5000 non-smoking adults over the age of 50 using data from the 1998, 1999 and 2001 waves of the Health Survey for England (HSE). The participants had also taken part in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA).