Smokers are generally unaware that quitting smoking will reduce the risk of dementia

Summary: Smoking can be a key risk factor for developing dementia, but many smokers don’t realize that quitting smoking can help reduce the risk of dementia.

Source: Alzheimer’s research in the UK

Smokers are urged to quit before No Tobacco Day (March 8) as research shows that those who smoke are more likely to develop dementia.

The annual Awareness Day encourages smokers to try to quit and this year’s theme is ‘Quitting Smoking Protects Your Brain Health’.

According to Alzheimer’s Research UK, dementia is the most feared health condition for people over 55, more than any other life-threatening condition, including cancer and diabetes.

Yet YouGov data commissioned by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) found that only 18% of smokers know that smoking increases the risk of dementia, compared to more than 70% who know that smoking causes lung disease or cancer.

Smoking increases the risk of developing dementia, especially Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia, because it harms the vascular system (heart and blood vessels) and the brain. Studies also suggest that quitting smoking significantly reduces this risk, and smoking has been identified as one of twelve risk factors which, if eliminated entirely, could collectively prevent or delay up to 40% of cases of dementia.

However, recent data from Alzheimer’s Research UK shows that only a third of UK adults know there are things they can do to reduce their risk of dementia, and quitting smoking is one of them.

Dr Chi Udeh-Momoh, a neuroscientist and dementia prevention expert based at Imperial College London, said: “If you smoke, quitting is perhaps the most important step you can take to protect yourself. both your heart and your brain. It can really be life changing.

“Many people know that smoking affects the heart and blood vessels, increasing the risk of diseases like high blood pressure and stroke. But fewer realize that these conditions, in turn, increase the risk of dementia, or that the chemicals in cigarette smoke can accelerate the natural aging of the brain.

“It’s fantastic that brain health is the theme for No Tobacco Day 2023. Initiatives like this are so important in raising awareness of the steps we can take to help keep the brain healthy.”

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According to Alzheimer’s Research UK, dementia is the most feared health condition for people over 55, more than any other life-threatening condition, including cancer and diabetes. Image is in public domain

Deborah Arnott, Executive Director of Action on Smoking and Health, which helps coordinate this year’s No Tobacco Day, said: “Quitting smoking is one of the best ways to improve your health. It has been shown to reduce the risk of developing dementia, heart disease, cancer and stroke. You experience health benefits in the weeks following your quit, you breathe easier and you feel healthier.

“No Tobacco Day is the perfect time to quit smoking when thousands of other people are also quitting. There are many ways to quit from nicotine replacement therapy to vaping and free local support to quit smoking. Smokers are three times more likely to successfully quit with the help of a trained professional than with willpower alone.

Hilary Evans, chief executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “Just a third of people realize we can take steps to help reduce our risk of developing dementia later in life. This needs to change, which is why improving people’s understanding of what they can do to shape their brain health is a real priority for Alzheimer’s Research UK.

“We are excited to work alongside ASH to shine a light on the connection between smoking and brain health. We hope that the positive message that quitting smoking anytime can help reduce your risk of dementia will give smokers new motivation to quit this No Tobacco Day.

About this news about smoking and dementia research

Author: Press office
Source: Alzheimer’s research in the UK
Contact: Press office – Alzheimer’s Research UK
Picture: Image is in public domain

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