Smoking and dementia: Understanding the risk

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It is well known that smoking causes cancer, heart disease and respiratory illness. There is also strong evidence that it can increase your risk of dementia. 

Smoking increases the risk of vascular problems, which are problems with the heart and blood vessels. 

And such problems are linked to the most-common forms of dementia: Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. 

The toxins in cigarette smoke also cause inflammation and stress to the body’s cells — also linked to Alzheimer’s disease. 

These risks also apply to passive smoking (breathing in other peoples’ smoke). 

Undoing the risk 

While this is clearly bad news for smokers, the good news is that stopping smoking is thought to reduce an individual’s risk. It can go down to the same as a non-smoker. 

Some studies show that smoking less may be linked to a decreased risk, but this is inconclusive. 

If you are not ready to quit nicotine completely, then moving from tobacco to vaping is a much better way to lower the risk. 

A Public Health England Report from 2018 said that the risk of cancer from vaping was 0.5% of the risk from smoking cigarettes in the UK. 

And the report also stated that the risks of cardiovascular and lung disease were likely to be much lower too — meaning a lower risk of dementia. 

Basically, vaping is massively less dangerous than smoking and experts strongly recommend making the switch. 

If you want to quit 

Here at Be Well Walsall, we offer free, personalised support to help you quit and stay smoke-free. 

We also offer help with weight management and can provide a free NHS Health Check for those aged 40 to 74. 

This can help to spot early signs of stroke, kidney disease, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, or dementia. 

Get support to quit smoking

15 May, 2024