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Smoking in Middle Age Linked to Subjective Cognitive Decline

Graded association observed between smoking and subjective cognitive decline, with greatest prevalence seen for current smokers

By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 4, 2023 (HealthDay News) — For middle-aged and older adults, smoking is associated with subjective cognitive decline (SCD), according to a study published online Nov. 9 in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Jenna I. Rajczyk, M.P.H., from The Ohio State University in Columbus, and colleagues examined whether smoking status is associated with SCD among middle-aged and older adults in a cross-sectional analysis using data from the 2019 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey. Eligible participants were aged 45 years or older and responded to the SCD and tobacco questions of interest.

A total of 136,018 eligible respondents were included, about 10 percent of whom had SCD. The researchers identified a graded association between smoking and SCD, with the greatest prevalence of SCD observed among current smokers, followed by recent former smokers, and remote former smokers, each compared with never smokers (adjusted prevalence ratios [95 percent confidence intervals], 1.87 [1.54 to 2.28], 1.47 [1.02 to 2.12], and 1.11 [0.93 to 1.33], respectively). No evidence was seen for effect modification by sex.

“Our results raise the question as to whether smoking cessation intervention efforts in middle adulthood could indicate long-term cognitive benefits in later years, as well as the possible value of targeting middle-aged adult current and recent former smokers for SCD screening,” the authors write.

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