Researchers from Finland claim that heavy smoking during middle-age dramatically increases the chance of a person developing dementia.
Scientists at the University of Eastern Finland and Kuopio University Hospital studied data from more than 21,213 patients, collected between 1978 and 2008.
Published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, the findings indicated that heavy smoking in middle-age increases the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease by 157 per cent, while the threat of the onset of vascular dementia was elevated by 172 per cent.
Reacting to the news, the head of research at the Alzheimer's Research Trust Dr Simon Ridley said that the threat from smoking on the risk of dementia has been known for some time.
"This study shows just how high the threat could be for heavy smokers. We desperately need more research into risk factors for dementia," he said.
According to the Alzheimer's Society, around 60,000 deaths each year in the UK are directly attributable to dementia.
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