The latest report from a team of Korean scientists linking smoking to an increased risk of developing dementia makes alarming reading.
According to the researchers from Seoul National University smokers have a 20 per cent greater risk of developing dementia in later life than non-smokers.
The study followed the lives of 46,140 men aged over 60 for 11 years and found that the non-smokers among them had a 19 per cent lower risk of suffering dementia and a 29 per cent lower chance of developing vascular dementia.
However, the report, which was published in the Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology, also highlights the enormous benefits of quitting smoking and offers new hope to those planning to kick the habit.
While it highlights the risk of developing dementia it also shows that stopping smoking can significantly lower that risk, even for long term smokers.
The scientists found that those who smoked but recently quit had a 14 per cent lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s in later life. Quitters also had a 32 per cent reduced chance of developing vascular dementia.
As quoted in the Sun newspaper, Dr Sang Min Park of Seoul National University in Korea, said: “Smoking cessation was clearly linked with a reduced dementia risk in the long term, indicating that smokers should be encouraged to quit in order to benefit from this increased risk.”
The links between smoking and the risk of developing dementia are well established. The World Alzheimer’s Report 2014 looked at the findings from 14 studies and found a statistically significant increased risk of dementia in current smokers compared to those who have never smoked. Meanwhile the 2017 Lancet Commission on dementia risk listed smoking as one of the nine modifiable risk factors behind the condition. According to the Alzheimer’s Society, other reviews have estimated that smoking carries with it a 30 to 50 per cent increased risk of developing dementia.
If you are a smoker and would like to quit, ASH Wales offers great tips on how to get started. Visit the ASH Wales website www.ash.wales to get friendly advice from other quitters as well as daily tips and motivation. Help Me Quit is run by NHS Wales and will help you to find the stop smoking service that best suits you. Contact them on 0808 278 6119 or visit www.helpmequit.wales.