Smokers in Cumbria are being urged to give quitting a go on No Smoking Day as research shows smoking significantly increases the risk of dementia.
Research by Alzheimer's Research UK shows dementia is the most feared health condition for people over the age of 55 – more than for cancer. But only one in five people who smoke in Cumbria are aware that smoking raises the risk of dementia.
As well as causing 16 types of cancer, heart disease, strokes and COPD, smoking also makes you more likely to develop dementia.
The poisons in tobacco damage blood vessels and kill off brain cells and neurons, increasing your chances of a heart attack, stroke and dementia. Quitting smoking improves your brain health and reduces your chances of dementia at any age.
Liz McDonald, a stop smoking advisor based at the Cumberland Infirmary, said: “It is never too late to quit. If you can stop smoking you will live longer and feel better. It does not matter how old you are or how long you have smoked for.
“Smoking can affect every part of the body from your skin to your brain. It causes heart attacks, strokes and cancer. Non-smokers are expected to live up to 10 years longer than smokers."
“If you stop smoking you will feel better, live longer and have more money to spend.
“We can’t change our age, but we can reduce our risk of dementia and it is never too late to quit smoking.”
For free advice and quitting support visit FreshQuit.co.uk
Here’s how your body recovers when you stop smoking:
After 20 minutes
Your pulse rate starts to return to normal.
After 8 hours
Your oxygen levels are recovering, and the level of harmful carbon monoxide in your blood will have reduced by half.
After 48 hours
All carbon monoxide is flushed out. Your lungs are clearing out mucus and your senses of taste and smell are improving.
After 72 hours
If you notice that breathing feels easier, it's because your bronchial tubes have started to relax. Also your energy will be increasing.
After 2-12 weeks
Blood will be pumping through to your heart and muscles much better because your circulation will have improved.
After 6 weeks
Smokers who stop have better mental health than those who continue to smoke. One study found that benefits could be seen as soon as six weeks and were maintained even a number of years after stopping.
After 3-9 months
Any coughs, wheezing or breathing problems will be improving as your lung function increases.
After 1 year
Great news! Your risk of heart attack will have halved compared with a smoker's.
After 10 years
Your risk of death from lung cancer will have halved compared with a smoker's.
- If you smoke, your risk of developing dementia is much higher.
- The poisons in tobacco damage your blood vessels and kill off brain cells and neurons, increasing your chances of a heart attack, stroke and dementia.
- Quitting smoking improves your brain health and reduces your chances of dementia. It is never too late to quit – stopping can prevent or slow down the development of dementia.
- Make No Smoking Day 2023 the day you quit for good.
- Using quitting aids boosts your chances of quitting and makes your quit attempt less stressful and more successful.
- Quitting gives you more money. If you smoke 10 a day, stopping could give you an extra £40 a week and £1,600 a year.
- Quitting reduces stress and anxiety after a few weeks, leaving you feeling calmer. It’s a myth that smoking helps with stress.
- Support from local stop smoking services gives you the best chance of success, and GPs and pharmacists can also give advice and tips to help you quit.
For more information about smoking and the risks of dementia visit https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/about-dementia/risk-factors-and-prevention/smoking-and-dementia