No Smoking Day

Published at 01 March, 2023.

Grandfather and daughter

No Smoking Day is on Wednesday 8th of March this year.

Many people will stop smoking on this day for health reasons including the risk of cancer, heart disease, asthma, and lung conditions such as COPD. Alzheimer’s Research UK tells us that dementia is the most feared health condition for people over the age of 55. This is more than any other life-threatening disease including cancer and diabetes. Only 18% of smokers know that smoking causes dementia, compared to over 70% who know that smoking causes lung diseases and cancers.

Dementia is a group of symptoms that are progressive and caused by different diseases that damage the brain which can affect memory, cause confusion and changes in behaviour. The person may lose the ability to carry out everyday tasks. Stopping smoking protects your brain health. The same chemicals which cause damage to the heart, also cause damage to your brain. If you smoke, you are more likely to develop dementia as every cigarette contains harmful chemicals which are bad for your brain, but stopping smoking reduces this risk. Smoking increases the risk of vascular problems including strokes, which are also a risk factor for dementia. The World Health Organisation estimates that 14% of cases of Alzheimer’s disease worldwide are potentially attributable to smoking.

Stopping smoking in middle age and keeping other risk factors under control will reduce the risk of dementia. There are also immediate health benefits such as reduced blood pressure and improved lung function even after a person has been diagnosed with the disease. People with dementia who smoke have an increased risk of fire in their homes as they are less likely to follow safe procedures, such as extinguishing cigarettes fully and disposing of them correctly. To reduce the risk of fire, people with dementia should seek help to stop smoking as soon as possible.

Not everyone who smokes will get dementia but stopping smoking is thought to reduce your risk down to that of non-smokers - pick a quit date and pin it to your calendar: 8th March!

List your reasons to quit and tell people you are quitting. List your smoking triggers and what may help you avoid them. If you have tried to stop smoking before, remember what worked for you and what didn`t. Every time you try can be different so keep an open mind and may be try something else.

Engage with a Stop Smoking Service who can help you with a stop smoking plan that is right for you - Even if you’ve smoked for many years, you will still benefit from stopping smoking today. Not everybody manages to quit first time, but each time you try is another step to quitting for good.  It’s never too late to quit and start loving your brain this No Smoking Day!

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