Is someone you know one of the nearly 49,000 Americans that will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer this year? Smoking puts you and your loved ones at greater risk. Give you or someone you love an early Christmas present and commit to quitting Nov. 17th—The Great American Smokeout.
The Great American Smokeout is a day to call it quits. Quit spending money on cigarettes and quit risking your oral health. Cigarette smokers are not the only focus of The Great American Smokeout. Any form of smoking is dangerous. While cigarette smoking has declined, cigar, pipe, and hookah – other dangerous and addictive ways to smoke tobacco – are very much on the rise in our country. Younger smokers sometimes think they are immune to the effects of smoking. Yet, it only takes 20 cigarettes over the span of a week to become hooked.
Quitting smoking can be one of the most challenging habits to break. Like any other addictive drug, there is a withdrawal period. Many experience intense cravings for nicotine and mood issues. Many postpone quitting for years because they are afraid of weight gain related to quitting. Breaking that habit, to where you no longer are burdened by the symptoms, usually takes two years. This sounds like hell, but the benefits of quitting far outweigh feeding this unhealthy, life-threatening habit. First, your body begins to recover immediately when you nix the cigarettes. Lung function, for example, bounces back as early as two weeks after refraining from cigarettes consistently. After five years of quitting your elevated cancer risk is cut in half. If that’s not enough to motivate you, consider the cost. Smoking costs the average smoker $1-2 million dollars in a lifetime.
Even if you avoid oral cancers, smoking does cause a myriad of other problems in the mouth including teeth yellowing, bad breath, delayed healing after dental and orthodontic procedures, loss of jaw bone and makes dental implants less effective. Quitting can be hard, but when you quit with strong support systems, you increase your chances of success. Make a pact with a buddy. Consult with your doctors. The American Cancer Society also has several free resources to help.
Since 1964, it’s been public knowledge that smoking is hazardous to health, and yet, many continue to smoke despite the tremendous risks. Commit to quit or help someone you love do so this Great American Smokeout and save a life. Kiss the Marlboro Man goodbye and kick the Camel to the curb. It’s time to embrace your health and wellness and quit.