Smoking doubles dementia risk in late life: study
Heavy smoking during middle age can double the risk of Alzheimer's disease and dementia two decades later, researchers said recently. Smoking already causes millions of deaths each year from cancer and heart disease.
"Our study suggests that heavy smoking in middle age increases the risk of both Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia for men and women across different race groups," Rachel Whitmer, a research scientist with Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, California and colleagues opined.
The new findings show it threatens public health in late life, when people are already more likely to develop dementia. Alzheimer's, the most common form of dementia, is a fatal brain disease in which people gradually lose their memories and their abilities to reason and care for themselves. It affects more than 26 million people globally.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) says 5 million people die every year from tobacco-related heart attacks, strokes and cancers. Another 430,000 adults die annually from breathing second-hand smoke.