Lung disease isn’t the only danger you face if share your personal space with a smoker. A new British study has found that secondhand smoke can damage the memory of those who are regularly exposed to it, either because they live with smokers or spent time with smokers in designated smoking areas for an average of 25 hours a week for an average of four and a half years.
The researchers, at Britain’s Northumberland University, found that non-smokers exposed to secondhand smoke forgot almost 20 percent more on memory tests than non-smokers who hadn’t been exposed to secondhand smoke. The smokers themselves forgot even more, 30 percent, when they took the same tests.
These exams were on time-based memory, which the researchers described as remembering to do something after a certain amount of time had passed, and event-based memory, which means remembering future plans or activities. This was the first study to look at the relationship between exposure to secondhand smoke and routine memory problems.