Smoking and dementia: opportunity to reduce two major public health problems

Tuesday 15 September 2015

Dementia is a growing health problem reflecting an ageing population. Some of the risk factors such as advanced age cannot be modified to reduce the risk but others can. One of the most important of these is to stop smoking.

A new ASH publication, [1] endorsed by Public Health England released today to coincide with PHE’s annual conference [2] sets out the growing body of evidence that smoking increases the risk of dementia. Overall, smokers have a 50 per cent greater chance of developing dementia than people who have never smoked.

The fact sheet shows how people can reduce their risk of developing dementia by not smoking as well as adopting other healthy lifestyles.

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of health charity ASH said:

“Smokers know that smoking causes cancer and heart disease but they need to also know about the increased risk of developing dementia. Stopping smoking is the single most important way smokers can improve their health as well as reducing their risks of developing dementia.”

Charles Alessi, Senior Advisor, Dementia, at Public Health England said:

“Stopping smoking remains one of the most important actions one can take to reduce the risks of developing dementia. It is never too late to stop and the earlier you can the better. There is plenty of help available, including PHE’s Stoptober campaign, and we encourage smokers to sign up now.”


Notes and Links:

[1] ASH fact sheet: Smoking and dementia
[2] For information about the PHE conference see: