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A new study suggests that second-hand or passive smokers may be harming their cognitive functions by hanging out smokers. The study by Northumbria University is a first of its kind to explore the relationship between exposure to other people's smoke and everyday memory problems.
Dr Tom Heffernan and Dr Terence O'Neil, researchers at the Collaboration for Drug and Alcohol Research Group at Northumbria University, compared a group of current smokers with two groups of non-smokers, those who were regularly exposed to second-hand smoke and those who were not. Others exposed to second-hand smoke either lived with smokers or spent time with smokers, for example in a designated "smoking area," and reported being exposed to second-hand smoke for an average of 25 hours a week for an average of four and a half years. Researchers found that non-smokers who had been exposed to second-hand smoke forgot 20% more in the memory tests.
Passive smoking is known to kill around 600,000 people every year.
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