No Smoking Day: smoking raises the risk of dementia message
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This comes as Alzheimer's Research UK revealed that only one in three UK adults know there are things they can do to help reduce their risk of dementia, and stopping smoking is one of them.
In addition, less than one in five North East smokers were aware that smoking increases your chances of getting dementia.
This year’s campaign is backed by both of the region’s mental health trusts: Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust and Cumbria, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, which both support patients with dementia.
Dr Charlotte Allan, lead consultant at Newcastle Memory Assessment and Management Service, said: “I don’t think many people are aware that smoking can increase the risk of dementia, but people certainly do worry about what it might be like to lose their memory, to need more support and to have to rely on other people.
“When people smoke, the poisons in tobacco smoke circulate around the body, and these damage blood vessels and harm our brain over time.
“Smoking causes inflammation and stress to the cells within the brain, which can kill off brain cells, and that increases the chance of dementia.
“It is really important that we raise awareness of the things that can reduce our risk of dementia. Quitting smoking at any age is going to help your overall health and it’s going to help reduce the risk of dementia.”
Ailsa Rutter, director of Fresh and Balance, said: “Brain health is something we can all relate to. Nobody wants to develop dementia or see their loved ones suffer so it’s important that people know the link between smoking and dementia.
“Smoking remains one of our biggest causes of death, disease, hospital admissions and health inequalities in the North East, killing 113,000 people in the region since the year 2000.
“We know over the years lots of people have used No Smoking Day as a good time to give quitting a go. Don’t ever think it’s too late or you can’t do it. It’s never too late and it can take you a few tries before you manage to quit for good.”