March the 8th is No Smoking Day 2023, and a great opportunity to have a go at quitting for good. Stopping smoking improves your brain health and reduces your chance of developing dementia. It’s never too late to quit to improve your mind, body, and bank balance!
Most people are aware that smoking causes 16 types of cancer, heart disease, COPD and strokes. What fewer people realise, is that smoking affects brain health and is a significant risk factor for dementia, which is the key focus this No Smoking Day. The World Health Organisation estimates that 14% of cases of Alzheimer’s disease worldwide are potentially caused by smoking. Dementia care costs the NHS more than 4 billion pounds annually, and social care costs are thought to exceed 18 billion pounds.
Dr M Santhana Krishnan, Consultant in Old Age Psychiatry at Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, also a member of the Humber and North Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership Dementia Steering Group said:
“Smoking increases the risk of both Alzheimer’s and Vascular Dementia, also the more someone smokes, the higher the dementia risk.
Like other smoking related health issues, quitting at any age can still significantly reduce risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of Dementia”.
It can take a few attempts to stop smoking, and that’s why it’s important to keep trying different ways until you find the one that helps you to quit for good.
Support from local stop smoking services gives you the best chance of success, and GPs and pharmacists can also give advice and tips to help you quit. Swapping to a vape is another highly effective way of stopping smoking and is significantly less harmful than tobacco. Your local stop smoking service can help you through the process of using a vape to becoming completely Smokefree.
You can also download the free NHS Quit Smoking app, which includes daily emails and SMS, information and advice on stop smoking aids, including how vaping can help you quit; and an online Personal Quit Plan tool.
The NHS has prioritised the delivery of treatments for tobacco dependency, and in the Humber and North Yorkshire area hospitals are in the process of making sure everyone who smokes is offered expert support to swap cigarettes and rollups for safer forms of nicotine. This is proven to help get the best out of treatment by being Smokefree whilst in hospital and when they go home, where many people choose to take that next and best step for their health and stop for good.
Mandy was recently admitted to Hull Royal Infirmary with respiratory issues, needing oxygen and emergency care. As Mandy was a smoker, the doctor prescribed a long-lasting nicotine patch and referred her to see Bobbie, one of the Trust’s Tobacco Dependency Treatment team. Bobbie visited Mandy throughout her stay in hospital and talked through the habits associated with smoking, providing advice on how to develop new, smokefree routines.
Mandy, who had wanted to quit for a while after trying many times before and was smoking 30-40 cigarettes a day, is now completely Smokefree and wanted other people to know about the positive effect stopping smoking had for her,
“I would encourage anyone to give quitting another go.
I am now six weeks smokefree and it’s completely changed my life for the better!
I am walking more, cooking more and can taste my food again. I’ve managed to lose some weight and have more energy. I’ve saved enough money to buy my guinea pigs a new cage, which felt like an extra bonus after all the health benefits”.
Make this No Smoking Day the day to swap tobacco for something safer, download the NHS Quit Smoking app, or contact your local stop smoking service who can talk you through all the options so that you can find the one that works for you. Every quit attempt is precious, so let’s sort the next one out together.
For further information or to contact your local stop smoking service, which is completely free, visit Quit smoking – Better Health – NHS (www.nhs.uk)