Study Finds Many Smokers Are Unaware That Quitting May Lower Dementia Risk

Study Finds Many Smokers Are Unaware That Quitting May Lower Dementia Risk

No Smoking Day is March 8 in the United Kingdom. To mark the occasion, an Alzheimer's organization is pointing out the possible brain benefits of putting down that cigarette, something that may be unknown to many.

Alzheimer's Research UK recently highlighted the results of a YouGov survey commissioned by Action on Smoking and Health, which found that fewer than one in five smokers - 18% - know that smoking may increase dementia risk. That compares with more than 70% that realize it's linked with lung diseases and cancers. This mirrors data from Alzheimer's Research UK, which shows that only about a third of UK adults know there are things they can do to lower dementia risk.

Dr. Chi Udeh-Momoh, neuroscientist and dementia prevention expert from Imperial College London, said in a news release, "If you smoke, quitting is perhaps the most important step you can take to protect both your heart and your brain. It really can be life-changing. Many people know that smoking affects the heart and blood vessels, increasing the risk of conditions like high blood pressure and stroke. But fewer realise that these conditions, in turn, increase the risk of dementia, or that the chemicals in cigarette smoke can speed up the natural ageing of the brain.

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

Meanwhile, Alzheimer's Research UK representatives say they strive to help people understand how to protect their brain health as they age, and smoking cessation is one thing that can help.

The American Heart Association says research has found that current smokers are 30% more likely to develop dementia and 40% more likely to develop Alzheimer's, with the risk increasing the more someone smokes. Meanwhile, quitting smoking has been linked with improved heart and brain health.

The American Heart and Stroke Associations have also pinpointed 13 areas of focus to help doctors prevent cognitive decline in their patients. No smoking is one of them. To see the full list, click here.

Michelle Milliken

Michelle has a journalism degree and has spent more than seven years working in broadcast news. She's also been known to write some silly stuff for humor websites. When she's not writing, she's probably getting lost in nature, with a fully-stocked backpack, of course.

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