Secondhand smoke, vascular disease, and dementia incidence: findings from the cardiovascular health cognition study

Am J Epidemiol. 2010 Feb 1;171(3):292-302. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwp376. Epub 2010 Jan 5.


Recent studies have found that smoking is associated with an increased risk of dementia, but the effects of secondhand smoke (SHS) on dementia risk are not known to have previously been studied. The authors used Cox proportional hazards marginal structural models to examine the association between self-reported lifetime household SHS exposure and risk of incident dementia over 6 years among 970 US participants in the Cardiovascular Health Cognition Study (performed from 1991 to 1999) who were never smokers and were free of clinical cardiovascular disease (CVD), dementia, and mild cognitive impairment at baseline. In addition, because prior studies have found that SHS is associated with increased risk of CVD and that CVD is associated with increased risk of dementia, the authors tested for interactions between SHS and measures of clinical and subclinical CVD on dementia risk. Moderate (16-25 years) and high (>25 years) SHS exposure levels were not independently associated with dementia risk; however, subjects with >25 years of SHS exposure and >25% carotid artery stenosis had a 3-fold increase (hazard ratio = 3.00, 95% confidence interval: 1.03, 9.72) in dementia risk compared with subjects with no/low (0-15 years) SHS exposure and < or =25% carotid artery stenosis. High lifetime SHS exposure may increase the risk of dementia in elderly with undiagnosed CVD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Dementia / epidemiology*
  • Dementia / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / adverse effects*
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / statistics & numerical data
  • Vascular Diseases / complications*


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution