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Tobacco Cessation

By Craig Smith
October 26, 2015

You probably already know that smoking affects your oral health. Over half the cases of adult periodontitis, a form of gum disease, are found in smokers. Smokers have a higher risk of developing oral cancer than nonsmokers. Heavy smoking and alcohol use together put you at even greater risk of developing oral cancer.

Luckily, there are many resources for smokers who wish to quit. You can make daily changes to stop smoking. Over-the-counter and prescription medications and nicotine replacement therapies (like nicotine patches or gum) can also help, along with speaking to a tobacco cessation counselor for support, often available through free smoking cessation hotlines.

To get started now, here are a few tips you can do on your own:

  • Set a date to quit and stick to it. Choose a “low stress” time to quit.
  • Get the support of your family, friends and co-workers.
  • Get rid of tobacco and tobacco-related items from your home, office and car.
  • Look for tobacco-free environments and activities.
  • Exercise – it’s hard to smoke when you are biking or playing basketball.
  • When you want tobacco, remember the 4 Ds:
    • Delay— the craving will pass in 5–10 minutes.
    • Drink water—it will help to wash toxins from your body.
    • Do something else—distract yourself by being active.
    • Deep breathing—deep inhalations and exhalations are relaxing.
  • Think about problems in advance and have a realistic plan to deal with them.
  • Call 1-800-QUITNOW or go to www.smokefree.gov for help.
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