There are 48,000 people living with dementia in Ireland a figure set to treble in a generation. Next year 11 people a day will develop dementia in Ireland and ASI estimate that the average annual cost per person with dementia is €40,500. By 2041 there will be 132,000 cases, according to projections.
However, dementia is not an inevitable part of ageing, and while not all cases are preventable, there is a lot can be done to reduce risk, one of which is reducing smoking.
The WHO estimates that 14% of cases of Alzheimer’s disease worldwide are potentially attributable to smoking. Overall, research shows that smokers have a 50 per cent greater chance of developing dementia than those who have never smoked, but this decreases substantially upon stopping smoking.
Tina Leonard, Head of Advocacy and Public Affairs with The ASI said: “On World Alzheimer Day we are calling for dementia prevention to be integrated into national public health programmes now alongside other major non communicable diseases (NCDs) as we fight the growing prevalence of this condition.”
“Current health promotion in Ireland ignores modifiable risk factors for dementia. The Department of Health’s Tobacco Free Policy highlights the associations between smoking and premature mortality, cancers and respiratory diseases but not the established links between smoking and dementia. It’s high time the concept of brain health underpinned our leading health policies if we have a chance of stemming this tide,” she added.
Dr Ross Morgan, Chairman of ASH Ireland said today: “While the connections between smoking and cancer, stroke and heart disease are well known, the general public, including most smokers, are relatively unaware of the link with dementia and smoking. It is important to raise awareness of the proven link between smoking and dementia. Public policies aimed at reducing smoking could play an important role in addressing the risk of dementia in Irish society.”
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