I have recently seen with friends of mine or patients who have become smoke free after  years of smoking and I see the positive effects this process has had on their lives.  I want to pass on some information for the Shelby Twp, Macomb county area people who read this blog and who are tired of the control that smoking has on your life.  To quit it usually takes a plan and commitment to stick to the plan for the changes to take place with any consistency. For those who smoke or live with a smoker I would like to expand on living a smoke free life in this month’s article. 
According to the American Heart Association, about 46 million American adults smoke cigarettes.  This breaks down to 23 percent of adult men and 19 percent of adult women. Most smokers are either actively trying to quit or want to quit. Since 1965, more than 49 percent of all adults who have ever smoked have quit. Leading a smoke free life: Smoking and using spit tobacco are  habits that significantly affect one’s health and well being. 
Why Quit?:
Cigarette smoking causes 87 percent of lung cancer deaths. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women. Smoking is also responsible for most cancers of the larynx, oral cavity and pharynx, esophagus, and bladder.
Tobacco smoke contains thousands of chemical agents, including over 60 substances that are known to cause cancer.
According to the Surgeon General:  Cigarette and tobacco smoke, high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, physical inactivity, obesity and diabetes are the six major independent risk factors for coronary heart disease that you can modify or control.

There are many oral conditions that are negatively affected by tobacco use which include:  periodontal disease, healing with dental implants, oral surgery and high risk for oral cancer.
The Good News:

  • After one year off cigarettes, the excess risk of coronary heart disease caused by smoking is reduced by half. After 15 years of abstinence, the risk is similar to that for people who’ve never smoked. 
  • In 5 to 15 years, the risk of stroke for ex-smokers returns to the level of those who’ve never smoked.
  • Male smokers who quit between ages 35 to 39 add an average of 5 years to their lives. Female quitters in this age group add 3 years. Men and women who quit at ages 65 to 69 increase their life expectancy by 1 year.

The Plan:
In any method used to be smoke free the person really needs to want to quit.  The motivation needs to come from within  rather than from an outside source such as a  spouse.  It needs to be done for yourself and as a result of your effort others will benefit. 

Both acupuncture and hypnotism can effective non-drug methods used to be tobacco free.  There is little scientific evidence that shows these methods are more effective than the use of pharmaceuticals.  For those patients who desire a more holistic approach these methods may be for you.

There are a number of pharmaceutical approaches used for a smoking cessation program.  These include nicotine replacement therapies such as nicotine gum or the patch, the use of zyban, an antidepressant, and a  smoking cessation aide called Chantix. I have current patients who have used Chantix with remarkable results.  According to Jonathan Foulds, the director of the Tobacco Independence Program, Chantix appears to target the nicotine receptors in the brain that are involved in producing the rewarding effects from smoking. Chantix is believed to work via two mechanisms:

1. Chantix binds to nicotine receptors and blocks them so that nicotine can no longer activate those receptors (an effect that pharmacologists sometimes call an antagonist effect). This means that when someone is trying to quit and they lapse and smoke a cigarette, they probably won,t get much satisfaction from smoking it, and will be less likely to smoke another. The take-home message for patients is that it still makes sense to select a target quit-date (day eight) and to try to quit smoking completely on that day. However, if you don’t immediately quit don’t give up on yourself or on the medicines. The evidence suggests that if you keep trying you will likely achieve abstinence, and that Chantix improves your chance s, so long as you keep trying and keep taking the medicine. On the other hand, it is important to be clear that the aim of the game is to quit completely, and it is better in the long run to throw away the cigarettes and get on with it.

 It is exciting for us to team up with those who want to get control of their lives and finally be smoke free.  Give us a call at (586) 247-3500 or email me at DrAntolak@TheGentleDentist.com for more information on this or previous articles. Please submit questions you may have about dental related topics to the same address on the internet. If you would like to write us, out address is 15055 22 Mile #2,  Shelby Twp.  MI 48315.

Dr. Robert Antolak practices implant, cosmetic and general dentistry in a relaxed “homey” environment where you are  made to feel like family.