No Smoking Day: Smokers unaware that quitting smoking will reduce risk of dementia. Are you ready to change?

Smokers in Norfolk and Waveney are being urged to give quitting a go as research shows those who smoke are more likely to develop dementia.

Today, 8 March 2023, is No Smoking Day an annual awareness day that encourages 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.[1]

Smoking raises the risk of developing dementia [3], particularly Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia, as it harms the vascular system (heart and blood vessels) and the brain. [4]. Studies also suggest that quitting smoking reduces this risk substantially [5], 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.[3]

However, data from Alzheimer’s Research UK show only a third of UK adults know there are things they can do to help reduce their risk of dementia [1], and stopping smoking is one of them.

Are you ready to change and quit smoking for good?

Quitting smoking is tough, but if you are ready to make a change, there is lots of help available. Start your journey to quit smoking and get support by visiting Ready to Change an online tool that gives you a step-by-step guide to help you on your journey.

Targeted Lung Health Checks

If you are a smoker or former smoker, live in Great Yarmouth and potentially at risk of developing lung cancer you may be eligible to join the Targeted Lung Health Check Programme.

Lung cancer is frequently diagnosed later than other cancers because often there are no signs or symptoms at an early stage. The Targeted Lung Health Check Programme is a new NHS pilot scheme designed to identify signs of cancer at an early stage when it is much more treatable – ultimately saving lives. 

This is a national NHS programme and in Norfolk and Waveney it is currently being offered as a pilot in Great Yarmouth only.  If it is successful then it will be gradually rolled out to the rest of Norfolk and Waveney.

The programme is being offered to people between the ages of 55 and 74 who are current or former smokers and at greater risk of lung cancer. Those eligible will be contacted by the NHS to invite them for a Lung Health Check.   

Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, Public Health and Prevention, Chair of the Health and Wellbeing board Cllr Borrett said: “Ready to Change is a fantastic online tool using behaviour change science to help you start your quit journey. In addition to this local stop smoking services partner  Smokefree Norfolk offers expert face-to-face with a variety of stop smoking aids.

“People who get support are up to three times as likely to quit successfully as those who try to quit unaided. There are plenty of tools available to help support whether it’s nicotine patches, gum or e-cigarettes, and SmokeFree Norfolk’s trained advisors are available to help at every step of the journey.”

Visit to find out where you can get free access to the latest quitting aids, apps, information, one-to-one advice, and local support.

[1] Alzheimer’s Research UK.  Public attitudes towards dementia. 2021.

[2] ASH Smokefree GB Adult Survey. Total sample size was 13,088 respondents. The online survey was undertaken between 16th February – 21st March 2022. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults

[3] Livingston G, Huntley J, Sommerlad A, Ames D, Ballard C, Banerjee S, Brayne C, Burns A, Cohen-Mansfield J, Cooper C, Costafreda SG. Dementia prevention, intervention, and care: 2020 report of the Lancet Commission. The Lancet. 2020 Aug 8;396(10248):413-46.

[4]  Tobacco use and dementia. WHO tobacco knowledge summaries. 8 July 2014

[5] “Former smokers did not show an increased risk of all-cause dementia (RR 1.01, 95% CI 0.96-1.06), AD (RR 1.04, 95% CI 0.96-1.13) and VaD (RR 0.97, 95% CI 0.83-1.13).” 2015 meta-analysis –