Sure, you already know smoking is bad for you. It’s been linked with lung cancer, an increase risk of stroke, and secondhand smoke can be just as bad as actually enjoying a cigarette yourself. But new studies have emerged that link smoking to yet another health problem – dementia.
The New York Times recently reported that smoking can increase your risk of dementia significantly, with non-smokers having a 19 percent lower risk of getting it compared to people who quit for at least four years (14 percent), and people who quit for less than four years (13 percent).
The study, which was published in the Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology, tested 46,140 men, aged 60 and above, and conducted regular health checks over eight years. During this time, 1,644 people were diagnosed with either Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia.
The research team recognises that eight years may not be long enough to truly and conclusively state that smoking increases the risk of dementia as it may take longer than that time period to develop. However, they do believe that the less you smoke, the less likely you are to develop this disease.
“Smoking has not been well known as a risk factor for dementia,” said the lead researcher, Dr. Daein Choi, from the Seoul University College of Medicine. “Our findings suggest that smoking cessation, or reduced smoking, might be helpful in reducing the risk.”
With so many health risks and concerns to take note of, and the government recently suggesting they may want to give NEA officers more authority to investigate smoking violations, maybe it’s not such a bad idea to start thinking about quitting.
By Gilbert Wong, Men’s Health Content Producer