Exposure to second-hand smoke damages everyday prospective memory

Authors

  • Thomas M. Heffernan,

    Corresponding author
    • Collaboration for Drug and Alcohol Research (CDAR), Division of Psychology, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
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  • Terence S. O'Neill

    1. Collaboration for Drug and Alcohol Research (CDAR), Division of Psychology, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
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Correspondence to: Thomas M. Heffernan, Collaboration for Drug and Alcohol Research (CDAR), Department of Psychology, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8ST, UK. E-mail: tom.heffernan@northumbria.ac.uk

Abstract

Aims

Prospective memory (PM: remembering future intentions and activities) is critical to everyday remembering. This study compared a group of never-smokers who reported regular exposure to second-hand smoke (the SHS group) with a group of current smokers (the CS group) and a group of never-smokers who reported never having been exposed to SHS (the non-SHS group) on objective PM.

Design

An existing groups design was employed to compare the SHS, CS and non-SHS groups.

Participants and setting

Twenty-four SHS, 27 CS and 28 non-SHS were tested on objective PM. All participants were university undergraduates aged between 18–30 years. All participants were tested individually in a laboratory setting.

Measurements

The Cambridge Prospective Memory Test (CAMPROMPT) was used to assess objective PM. Age, other drug use, mood and IQ were also measured as covariates in the study.

Findings

The non-SHS group recalled significantly more time-based PM tasks than the SHS group (means = 16.3 versus 13.7, P < 0.001) and significantly more than the CS group (CS mean = 11.6, P < 0.001); and the SHS group recalled significantly more time-based tasks than the CS group (P < 0.002). The non-SHS group recalled significantly more event-based PM tasks than the CS group (means = 15.2 versus 11.3, P < 0.002) with no significant difference between the non-SHS group and SHS group (SHS mean = 14.3, P = 0.234); and the SHS group recalled significantly more event-based tasks than the CS group (P < 0.001).

Conclusion

Non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke may suffer impairment in time-based prospective memory.

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