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Smokers urged to quit to reduce dementia risk

Posted on Tuesday 7th March 2023
Chris Speed, Paul Northcott Stoptober NR

Chris Speed with County Cllr Paul Northcott

Smokers in Staffordshire are being urged to give up smoking ahead of a national campaign, highlighting that smokers are more likely to develop dementia.

National ‘No Smoking Day’ on Wednesday 8 March, is encouraging smokers to make a quit attempt and this year’s theme is 'stopping smoking protects your brain health'.

According to Alzheimer's Research UK, dementia is the most feared health condition for people over the age of 55 – more than any other life-threatening disease including cancer and diabetes.

Smoking raises the risk of developing dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.  Studies also suggest that quitting smoking reduces this risk substantially and smoking has been identified as one of twelve risk factors that if eliminated entirely, could collectively prevent, or delay up to 40% of dementia cases.

Staffordshire County Council’s Public Health team are encouraging smokers looking to quit, to access support from partner ‘Everyone Health Staffordshire’.

Chris Speed, Senior Smoking Practitioner from Everyone Health Staffordshire said:

“It’s never too late to stop smoking and last year we helped 753 people to quit.

“Our service is designed to help people quit for good and we offer free, telephone support sessions and virtual appointments, advice on managing cravings and free medication. The service is available to anyone aged 40+ living in Staffordshire and from April, we will be extending the free offer to residents aged 18+.”

41-year-old Zoe Moores, managed to quit with the help of the service.

Zoe said:

“I mainly wanted to stop smoking for health reasons and I’m very grateful for the help I received from Everyone Health Staffordshire.

“After 12 weeks of quitting, I feel much better in myself, I can taste things better and I know I don’t smell of cigarettes. I also no longer get breathless walking up the stairs, which is great.  Finally, I’ve also saved money and had enough to book a holiday to New York, which is amazing.”

Paul Northcott, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet Support Member for public health and integrated care added:

“We know that quitting smoking isn’t easy but with the right support and encouragement it can be done.

“Many people will be aware of the serious effects of smoking on their health but may not be aware of the increased risk of dementia, or that the chemicals in cigarette smoke can speed up the natural ageing of the brain.

“Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do to improve your health and I’d urge people to get in touch with the service and get that help to quit.”

People interested in quitting can find out more about the support available from the Everyone Health Staffordshire website or text QUIT to 60777.

People can also access support via the free NHS Quit Smoking App. Search ‘NHS Quit Smoking’ in the app store.

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