Clear The Air News Tobacco Blog Rotating Header Image

January 9th, 2013:

An open letter to the Chief Executive and Financial Secretary, Hong Kong SAR Government

Download PDF : Coshsubmission2013


Passive Smoking Increases Risk of Severe Dementia, According to Study in China

Web address:

Passive Smoking Increases Risk of Severe Dementia, According to Study in China

Jan. 9, 2013 — An international study by scientists in China, the UK and USA has found a link between passive smoking and syndromes of dementia.

The study of nearly 6,000 people in five provinces in China reveals that people exposed to passive smoking have a significantly increased risk of severe dementia syndromes.

Passive smoking, also known as ‘second-hand’ smoke or environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), is known to cause serious cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, including coronary heart disease and lung cancer. However, until now it has been uncertain whether ETS increases the risk of dementia, mainly due to lack of research. Previous studies have shown an association between ETS and cognitive impairment, but this is the first to find a significant link with dementia syndromes.

The study, published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, is a collaboration between scientists at King’s College London and Anhui Medical University, China, along with colleagues in the UK and USA.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly 80 percent of the more than one billion smokers worldwide live in low- and middle-income countries, where the burden of tobacco-related illness and death is heaviest; but only 11 percent of the world’s population are protected by comprehensive smoke-free laws.

China is the largest consumer of tobacco in the world, with 350 million smokers. Since 2006, the Chinese government has actively promoted the introduction of smoke-free environments in hospitals, schools, on public transport and in other public places, but implementation has not been widespread.

Recent data show that the prevalence of passive smoking is still high, with over 50 percent of people exposed to environmental tobacco smoke on a daily basis. China also has the highest number of dementia sufferers in the world, with increasing rates of new cases as the population ages.

Dr Ruoling Chen, senior lecturer in public health from King’s College London, and colleagues interviewed 5,921 people aged over 60 in the rural and urban communities of Anhui, Guangdong, Heilongjiang, Shanghai and Shanxi to characterise their levels of ETS exposure, smoking habits and assess levels of dementia syndromes.

They found that 10 percent of the group had severe dementia syndromes. This was significantly related to exposure level and duration of passive smoking. The associations with severe syndromes were found in people who had never smoked and in former and current smokers.

The data from the Anhui cohort, which were collected at baseline in 2001-03 for dementia syndromes and in the follow up in 2007-08 for ETS exposure and dementia, further excluded the possibility that dementia syndromes caused people to be more exposed to environmental tobacco smoke.

Dr Ruoling Chen, also a visiting professor at Anhui Medical University said: ‘Passive smoking should be considered an important risk factor for severe dementia syndromes, as this study in China shows. Avoiding exposure to ETS may reduce the risk of severe dementia syndromes.

‘China, along with many other countries, now has a significantly aging population, so dementia has a significant impact not only on the patients but on their families and carers. It’s a huge burden on society.’

The findings from this study, together with a second recent study by Chen and colleagues published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia on the links between passive smoking and Alzheimer’s disease, strengthen the case for public health measures to protect people from exposure to environmental tobacco smoke.

‘At present, we know that about 90 percent of the world’s population live in countries without smoke-free public areas. More campaigns against tobacco exposure in the general population will help decrease the risk of severe dementia syndromes and reduce the dementia epidemic worldwide.’

He added: ‘The increased risk of severe dementia syndromes in those exposed to passive smoking is similar to increased risk of coronary heart disease — suggesting that urgent preventive measures should be taken, not just in China but many other countries.’

Share this story on Facebook, Twitter, and Google:

Other social bookmarking and sharing tools:

Share on redditShare on stumbleuponShare on pinterest_shareShare on bloggerShare on diggShare on farkShare on linkedinShare on myspaceShare on newsvine


Story Source:

The above story is reprinted from materials provided by King’s College London.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.

Journal Reference:

1.     R. Chen, K. Wilson, Y. Chen, D. Zhang, X. Qin, M. He, Z. Hu, Y. Ma, J. R. Copeland. Association between environmental tobacco smoke exposure and dementia syndromes. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 2012; 70 (1): 63 DOI: 10.1136/oemed-2012-100785

Top of Form

Need to cite this story in your essay, paper, or report? Use one of the following formats:



King’s College London (2013, January 9). Passive smoking increases risk of severe dementia, according to study in China. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 10, 2013, from­ /releases/2013/01/130109110048.htm

Bottom of Form

Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.

NSW tobacco reforms prompt moves to make North Sydney LGA a smoke-free municipality

North Sydney Mayor Jilly Gibson envisions smoke-free streets and outdoor spaces in her municipality. Photo: Dave Swift

North Sydney Mayor Jilly Gibson envisions smoke-free streets and outdoor spaces in her municipality. Photo: Dave Swift

NORTH Sydney could be one of Australia’s first smoke-free local government areas under Mayor Jilly Gibson’s plan to ban smoking in all outdoor spaces.

This would include no smoking in public and private outdoor dining areas, beer gardens and terraces as well as outside sections of residential properties.

“We couldn’t enforce it but we could certainly encourage all residents and businesses to self-police a blanket ban on smoking in North Sydney,” Cr Gibson said.

“Personally, I am highly allergic to passive smoking – that’s why I fought to abolish smoking in outdoor dining areas 12 years ago.”

<TELL US: Should smoking be banned in all outdoor spaces in the North Sydney LGA? COMMENT BELOW>

Cr Gibson’s comments came after the State Government’s new tobacco laws came into effect on Monday.

Smokers now risk being fined up to $550 if they are caught lighting up at transport stops, playgrounds, sports fields and pools.

State laws are now in line with North Sydney Council’s anti-smoking policy, which was introduced in October 2011.

“It’s great news the legislative changes are in effect but we’re already doing it,” general manager Penny Holloway said.

While council rangers aren’t planning a blitz on errant smokers, they are relying on “peer pressure” within the community to help enforce the reforms.

“We take an educative approach, informing people where they can and can’t smoke – these things usually become self-enforcing,” Ms Holloway said.


* It is now illegal to smoke at bus stops, taxi ranks, playgrounds, public sports grounds and swimming pools in NSW.

* Smoking in outdoor dining areas will be outlawed in 2015.

* North Sydney and Mosman councils have had similar anti-smoking policies in place for years.

* Smoking causes 5,200 deaths and 44,000 hospitalisations in NSW each year – costing NSW $8 billion annually.

A new regulation will require cigarette producers to add graphic warnings to cigarette packages in Indonesia

Tobacco Bill Requires Graphic Warnings to be Displayed on

You +1’d this publicly. Undo

Jakarta Globe-7 hours ago

A new regulation will require cigarette producers to add graphic warnings to cigarette packages in Indonesia. (JG Photo/Afriadi Hikmal)

Why Asia is set for more tobacco plain packaging rules

09 January 2013

Peter Leung, Hong Kong


Encouraged by Australia’s new plain packaging law, more countries are taking steps to restrict tobacco products. Managing IP explains the latest developments in Asia

Australia’s tobacco plain packaging law, which requires that all cigarettes be sold in packs with standardised colours, fonts, and devoid of logos, came into effect on December 1 after surviving a constitutional challenge before the High Court. As expected, governments and health organisations around the world are considering their own versions of the law. What might these laws look like, and how are brand owners responding?


Thailand’s proposed tobacco packaging law, the Tobacco Consumption Control Act, look set to go further than Australia’s plain packaging rules when it comes to curtailing brand owners’ rights.

Thailand already has laws regulating tobacco packaging, requiring that 55% of the packaging be covered by graphic health warnings. There are also laws prohibiting advertising and marketing.

Alan Adcock of Tilleke and Gibbons says the latest draft of the plain packaging law contains few specifics about packaging. Instead, the bill leaves the…