A joint international study between researchers in the UK, USA, and China suggests that second-hand smoke could increase the risk of severe dementia. Previous studies have found that environmental smoke can cause lung cancer and coronary heart disease in non smokers, however, this is the first study to show a strong link between passive smoke and syndromes of dementia and cognitive decline.
The study involved almost 6,000 people over age 60, all of which were interviewed by the researchers. It was found that 10% of them had severe dementia syndromes.
Types of Secondhand Smoke
There are two different types of secondhand – environmental and passive smoke. The first is known as sidestream smoke, which comes from the lit part of a pipe, cigar or cigarette. The second type, mainstream smoke is exhaled smoke. Sidestream smoke has the highest amount of cancer causing particles. While both types are bad, sidestream smoke has the highest amount of cancer causing particles that make their way into the body easily. According to the CDC, secondhand smoke contains over 7000 chemicals. Hundreds of these chemicals are toxic approximately 70 are carcinogenic. No wonder the harmful effects of smoking are so prevalent.
Tobacco Use in China
China ranks number one as the largest consumer of tobacco products in the world and has over 350 million smokers. Officials in China have actively pursued, since 2006, the implementation of no smoking laws in public places such as schools, hospitals, public transportation and other public places. However, there are still a number of places where implementation has not taken place. Over 50% of people are exposed to passive smoke daily in China where the highest numbers of dementia sufferers in the world can be found. With their aging population, it is believed that dementia will continue to put tremendous pressures on families and society in general.
According to the World Health Organization, over 80 percent of the people who smoke live in areas where tobacco-related health problems including death is the highest. A mere 11 percent of the world’s population are protected by laws that regulate secondhand smoke.
Whether or not you believe in smoking laws, it’s important to recognize how smoking affects yourself, children, and society as a whole.