No Smoking Day: Smokers unaware that quitting smoking will reduce risk of dementia

Smokers in the North West are being urged to give quitting a go ahead of No Smoking Day (8th March), as research shows those who smoke are more likely to develop dementia.

The annual awareness day 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 diabetes1

Yet YouGov data2 commissioned by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) revealed 19%  of people who smoke know that smoking increases the risk of dementia, compared to 74% who know that smoking causes lung diseases or 76% who know that smoking causes cancers.

Smoking raises the risk of developing dementia3, particularly Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia, as it harms the vascular system (heart and blood vessels) and the brain4. 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 cases3.

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.

This Non Smoking Day, Active Lancashire are holding a pop up event in The Mall, Blackburn, where local people can drop in and speak to a range of advisors and support agencies about giving up smoking. 

Gwen Hughes, Stop Smoking Advisor at Active Lancashire said: "Stopping Smoking has many positive health benefits and the Local Blackburn with Darwen Stop Smoking Service can help support you to plan a successful quit. Consultations can be made at one of 15 local pharmacies where you could access Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) and Behaviour Change counselling. The Re:fresh team can offer 1:1 support, and Challenge through Sport Initiative organise community pop-up Quit Talk sessions and activities to help you succeed. Take this opportunity to find out more to plan your Quit."

The event is taking place between 10am and 2pm opposite Sports Direct, with a range of services on hand to offer advice and support including re:freshHealthWatch and BNL Nutrition. Also on the day there will be a chance to give the smoothie bike a go and Pete from Pendle Plant Craft will be leading a free foraging and well-being walk. 

Visit to find out where you can get free access to the latest quitting aids, apps, information, one-to-one advice, and local support or pop along to The Mall, Blackburn on the 8th March to speak to an advisor in person.


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 -

Active Partnerships
Lancashire and South Cumbria Health and Care Partnership
Funded by UK Government Levelling Up