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Nov. 15 is the 37th annual Great American Smokeout

When it comes to smoking, everyone loves a quitter, and the American Cancer Society is observing its 37th annual Great American Smokeout Nov. 15.

Held on the third Thursday each November, the Great American Smokeout is a target date for tobacco users to begin to craft a plan to quit or to quit that day. According to the ADA, tobacco use increases risk of periodontal (gum) disease, oral cancer, stained teeth and tongue, dulled sense of taste and smell and slow healing after oral surgery.

MouthHealthy.org, the ADA consumer website offers a variety of information on the impact of tobacco on oral health, resources, ADA Dental Minute videos and links to other resources for those who want to become quitters.

According to the American Cancer Society website, “tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the US, yet more than 45 million Americans still smoke cigarettes. However, more than half of these smokers have attempted to quit for at least one day in the past year. As of 2010, there were also 13.2 million cigar smokers in the US, and 2.2 million who smoke tobacco in pipes.”

Smoking increases risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and lung cancer. But quitting has some immediate effects as well as long-term benefits, according to the ACS:

  • 20 minutes after quitting, your heart rate and blood pressure drop.
  • 12 hours after quitting, the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
  • 2 weeks to 3 months after quitting, your circulation improves and your lung function increases.
  • 1 to 9 months after quitting, coughing and shortness of breath decrease; cilia (tiny hair-like structures that move mucus out of the lungs) start to regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce the risk of infection.
  • 1 year after quitting, the excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a continuing smoker’s.
  • 5 years after quitting, risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus and bladder are cut in half. Cervical cancer risk falls to that of a non-smoker. Stroke risk can fall to that of a non-smoker after 2-5 years.
  • 10 years after quitting, the risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a person who is still smoking. The risk of cancer of the larynx (voice box) and pancreas decreases.
  • 15 years after quitting, the risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker’s.

The ACS Great American Smokeout web page (visit cancer.org and click on the Smokeout link) offers a variety of resources and information about quitting.

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

11/07/2012

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