New Motivation to Quit Smoking – Dementia Risk Higher in Smokers

By EmilyM

Just when you thought you were well aware of all the risks associated with smoking, more and more frightening reports seem to appear.

If you are waiting for just the right moment to put down the pack, think this one over next time you have the urge to light up. Alzheimer’s disease, and other forms of dementia, are more likely to strike those who are smokers in their 50’s and 60’s than their non-smoking peers. This further proves that smoking not only shortens the years of your life, but the life in your years.

While admittedly quitting smoking is not easy at all (believe me I know, I quit only 3 months ago), if you are waiting for a health report declaring  that smoking is no longer unhealthy for you, sadly it’s just never going to happen.

This new study is  one more tool you can use as  ammunition to quit smoking once and for all.

The Facts

The findings of this new report were published this week in the online edition of the Archives of Internal Medicine. While many health professionals have believed for some time that there is a link between dementia and smoking, this is the first study to provide concrete evidence supporting these beliefs.

In order to gather this information, Rachel Whitmer, the author of the study along with her colleagues, followed over 21,000 people for 23 years and by the age of 81, 25% were clinically diagnosed with dementia. Of those who smoke somewhere between one and two packs a day, researchers found a 44 percent higher dementia risk. The risk grows even higher for those who smoke two or more packs each day. For these people, it is double that of a non-smoker.

The Reason Smoking Can Lead to Dementia

So what do researchers believe is the driving force behind these sky high risk statistics? Researchers believe that smoking causes swelling in the body which leads to  increased blood pressure, chance of stroke and effects the way blood clots. These all set the scene for a blood vessel problem, which can result in poor blood flow to the brain and ultimately problems like stroke and dementia.

Okay, so I am a smoker and I want to quit…what now?

In order to be successful, most professionals and fellow ex-smokers alike seem to agree on one thing – you have to quit smoking because YOU want to. As basic as that may seem, you need to be your own ally for going smoke free. While loved ones and friends can be an amazing support system, you must be accountable for yourself and dedicated to your commitment. It’s amazing how quickly your body begins to thank you after you quit. Within just 2 to 3 weeks, your risk for heart attack already begins to drop and your lungs begin to “feel better.”

Popular smoking cessation methods include, “going cold turkey” or when you simply stop smoking altogether, support groups, nicotine gum, the patch or many find relief with smoking cessation medication like Chantix. Chantix works by blocking the nicotine receptors in the brain that are responsible for that “feel good” effect smokers experience when they satiate their cigarette craving. By removing this simple sensation, smoking becomes less desirable. This is why when you begin taking Chantix, you are still able to smoke. As time goes by, fueled by your desire to quit and the effect of the medication, you will crave a cigarette less and less.

When you are in the depths of nicotine addiction, the idea of quitting seems almost unreachable, but I know from my own personal battle, kicking the habit is well worth the fight. With determination and countless health studies like these surfacing, you already have the starter tools you need to enroll in the program that is best for you.