How does smoking affect my mouth?
Most of us have heard the phrase 'smoking is bad for you' about a million time. Despite the evidence, many of us still choose to do it. Perhaps most memorably in 19... Smoking continues to be both incredibly political and incredibly fashionable.
In recent years we have seen the ban on smoking in public places, smoking in cars with children and the introduction of gruesome pictures on cigarette packets in attempt to better inform people about the risks of smoking. Smoking is still single-handedly one of the worst habits you could pick up over the course of your lifetime.
What is in a cigarette?
Cigarettes are made primarily from tobacco, however, there are numerous chemicals which are associated with tobacco smoke, many of which are known to cause cancer. Some of the most well-known constituents of tobacco smoke include nicotine, tar, carbon monoxide, formaldehye, ammonia, hydrogen cyanide, arsenic and DDT. To learn more about this, click here.
How does smoking affect my oral health?
Smoking is one of the biggest factors that increase the likelihood of you having gum disease and oral cancer.
With regard to gum disease, we know that smokers are more prone to getting it, it progresses faster and that our treatments to stop more loss of bone around the teeth are less effective.
Alongside alcohol, smoking is one of the most common factors found in people who go on to develop oral cancer. It is estimated a whopping 65% of oral cancers in the UK are linked to smoking. The pictures on the back of your cigarette packets are sadly very very real. This risk isn't only associated with tobacco, but also with betel quid, cannabis and e-cigarettes. To find out more information about oral cancer, click here.
Quitting smoking or even reducing the number of cigarettes you have in a day will reduce your risk of both gum disease and oral cancer.
How about my overall health?
Smoking is single-handedly one of the worst habits to pick up over the long-term. In addition to the effects in your mouth, smoking can also increase your risk of lung cancer, throat cancer & stomach cancer, it damages your heart, increases your blood pressure and narrows your arteries, increases your risk of stroke and reduces your fertility. Smoking also ages your skin prematurely making it appear grey and dull. This is because you get less oxygen to the skin at the surface. The toxins in a cigarette also cause cellulite. To read more about the facts, click here.
Are there any benefits to smoking?
It is rumoured that:
smoking keeps you thin
Nicotine is both an appetite suppressor and stimulator. The act of smoking itself may make you less prone to snacking however his is not a reliable weight control measure.
Smoking keeps you calm
It is certainly true that many people reach for a cigarette at times of stress.
There are some medically documented benefits of smoking which include reduction is symptoms from irritable bowel syndrome and the smoking of cannabis has recently been licensed for pain management in some terminally ill patients.
What about e-cigarettes?
E-Cigarettes are a great aide in helping a lot of people quit smoking and this is a move I would support. What you must remember is that E-cigarettes are not neutral, in other words, they are still more risky than not smoking at all but not as bad as smoking. They are still a relatively new product on the market and it will be about another 30 years till we know the long-term effects of all the chemicals that are in them.
I want to quit, how can I do it?
The NHS website has some great advice for people who want to quit smoking. If you live in the Merseyside area, the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Centre (also known as FagEnds) also provide some great support to people in the area. Lots of people think they're not addicted to smoking. Why no take the addiction test to find out if you are? If you've decided to quit, well done!
Here are some tips to help you on the way:
1. Set a date
Psychologists tell us that setting a date and writing it down makes us more likely to do actually make a change.
So set a date and mark it on the calendar so you know when you're going to start this journey.
2. Speak to your GP
The NHS has some fantastic services available to people trying to quit. This varies from support groups to prescription
items like nicotine patches and chewing gums. You are three times more likely to successfully quit with stop smoking services compres
to doing it on your own.
3. Get Support
Breaking any habit is hard. The evidence says those who try to quit are most likely to succeed when they have support.
Support can look like different things to different people. You might join a support group or just tell your family and
friends about your plan to quit. You may be surprised that they might be able to help you in practical ways like not
offering you cigarettes on nights out, or helping you find alternative activities when people around you leave to smoke.
4. Make a plan
How are you going to quit? Are you going to go cold turkey? Are you going to reduce your number of cigarettes over a few
months? Are you going to use an e-cigarette, patches or other aide? It's great to have a plan - it will help you on the days
which are really hard.
5. Set some goals
This is especially useful if you plan on cutting down the number of cigarettes you're having. Again, write it down and tick
them off as you achieve them. The best way to write a goal is to make sure it's achievable and measurable. A goal like
' reduce my number of cigarettes a day by 5 by 21st January'.
6.Celebrate & share your achievements
Every time you achieve one of your goals, stop and pat yourself on the back. Tell your friends! Tell us! Any reduction in
your number of cigarettes or days without them deserves to be celebrated. Some people find it helpful to put the money
they save from quitting in a jar and buy themselves something nice once they reach a goal. Whatever you choose, make
sure you take the time to stop and celebrate.
7.Don't be so hard on yourself
Breaking any habit is hard!They say it takes 21 days to break a habit. What we know though is that having a bad day or slip
up doesn't mean your effort up to that point counted for nothing. Pick yourself up and keep going - you can do it!