Studies have shown that smoking is a significant risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia, as smokers are twice as likely to develop the disease as non-smokers. According to the research compiled at the University of Eastern Finland and Kuopio University Hospital in Finland, smoking more than two packs of cigarettes daily from age 50 to 60 doubles the risk of dementia later in later life.
For example, 25.4 per cent of the participants in the study were diagnosed with dementia, an average of 23 years later. Additionally, of the individuals in that group of over 20,000 who had dementia, 1,136 were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and 416 of the participants later developed vascular dementia. Since smoking is a well-established risk factor for strokes, it also can contribute to the risk of vascular dementia through similar means.
The studies also found that smoking contributes to the oxidative stress and inflammation, two components believed to be significant in the development of Alzheimer’s disease, and that smoking affects the development of dementia through vascular and neurodegenerative pathways.