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Quit smoking and protect oral health with high-tech tool

You can put support for quitting smoking in the palm of your hand with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's new consumer tool for palm devices and pocket PCs.

"Quit Smoking: Consumer Interactive Tool" helps smokers set up a program tailored to their individual needs. Users can choose a date to quit, then use the program that includes a 5-day countdown beforehand of practical steps, including identifying reasons to quit, talking to the doctor about medications like the nicotine patch or gum and getting support from family and friends.

"Smokers are six times more likely than nonsmokers to develop oral cancers," according to Dr. Kimberly Harms, American Dental Association consumer advisor. "Smokeless tobacco is associated with cancers of the cheek, gums and lining of the lips, increasing the risk by about 50 times."

Tobacco products can damage gum tissue by affecting the attachment of bone and soft tissue to your teeth. Smoking can also delay healing after a tooth extraction or other oral surgery and contribute to bad breath, stains on your teeth and tongue, and a build-up of tartar on your teeth.

Download the tool for quitting smoking free of charge at "". For more information about quitting smoking, log on to "www.ahrq.gove/path/tobacco.htm" or call the toll-free National Quitline at 1-800-QUIT NOW.

Please contact the ADA if you have questions about this article.

©2010 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission from the American Dental Association.

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