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Smokers unaware that quitting smoking will reduce risk of dementia

Published: 1 March 2023

Smokers in Derbyshire are being urged to give quitting a go ahead of No Smoking Day as research shows those who smoke are more likely to develop dementia.

We are supporting No Smoking Day, which is running on Wednesday 8 March 2023, and offers free stop smoking support to all Derbyshire residents.

The annual awareness day encourages smokers to make a quit attempt and this year’s theme is 'stopping smoking protects your brain health'.

The percentage of Derbyshire residents aged 18 and over, who currently smoke is, 13.9% with the highest rates being in Bolsover and Chesterfield.

Our Cabinet Member for Health and Communities Councillor Carl Hart said:

“Stopping smoking is one of the best things you can do to improve both your short and long-term health.

“The negative impacts of smoking on your lungs are well known, but the impact on your brain health is not as widely known.

“So, if you’re ready to quit for good this year then our Live Life Better Derbyshire service is on hand to offer free, local support.”

YouGov data commissioned by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) revealed only 18% of people who smoke in the East Midlands know that smoking increases the risk of dementia, compared to 80% who know that smoking causes lung diseases.

Smoking raises the risk of developing dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia, as it harms the vascular system (heart and blood vessels) and the brain.

Studies also suggest that quitting smoking reduces this risk substantially, and smoking has been identified as one of 12 risk factors that if eliminated entirely, could collectively prevent or delay up to 40% of dementia cases.

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 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.”

Find out more about free, 12 week stop smoking support or tel: 0800 085 2299

Regional data breakdown: Health conditions: caused by smoking

A regional breakdown of ASH's YouGov data which shows the number of people who smoke in each area that aware of the link between smoking and these health conditions
Region Dementia Lung / respiratory diseases Cancer
North East 19% 85% 81%
North West 19% 74% 76%
Yorkshire and the Humber 14% 80% 77%
East Midlands 18% 80% 75%
West Midlands 21% 72% 71%
East of England 17% 78% 81%
London 17% 77% 76%
South East 19% 76% 76%
South West 20% 80% 80%