Articles on tobacco

Say No to Tobacco

Dr. Sandeep Nayak, Surgical Oncologist
Oral or mouth cancer is one of the most common cancers in Asia and most of it is caused by tobacco. These are disfiguring cancers which can only be made better by endoscopic surgeries like minimally invasive neck dissection. Tobacco has an interesting history. In October, 1492, Christopher Columbus was offered dried tobacco leaves as a gift from the American Indians that he encountered. Soon after, sailors brought tobacco back to Europe, and the plant was being grown all over Europe. Tobacco, probably mixed with lime or chalk, appears to have been used in these Native American populations as a toothpaste to whiten the teeth, it was perhaps in 1500AD that the notion of tobacco as a panacea became prevalent.Tobacco was also used as a medicinal plant during this time. It was used for treating ulcerated abscesses, fistulas, sores, inveterate polyps and many other ailments. Breathing the odour of fresh green leaves of the plant relievedpersistent headaches. For colds and catarrh, green or powdered leaves should be rubbed around inside the mouth. Diseases of glands in the neck could be cured by cutting out the root of the lesion and placing on it crushed tobacco plant hot and mixed with salt, on the same spot. Well, to tell the truth, during those days tobacco was solution for every ailment! However, those were the days when the evidence was scarce.Till the beginning of 20th century, the ill effects of tobacco abuse were unknown to the public. The tobacco giants ran advertisements claiming the benefits of tobacco. They advised that regular smoking would improve one’s health. It took enormous effort by the activists and scientific community to discover the ill effects of tobacco. Today, we know that tobacco use is the single greatest avoidable risk factor for cancer mortality worldwide, causing an estimated 22% of cancer deaths per year. In 2004, 1.6 million of the 7.4 million cancer deaths were due to tobacco use.Tobacco smoking causes many types of cancer, including cancers of the lung, oesophagus, larynx (voice box), mouth, throat, kidney, bladder, pancreas, stomach and cervix. About 70% of the lung cancer burden can be attributed tosmoking alone. Second-hand smoke, also known as environmental tobacco smoke, has been proven to cause lung cancer in non-smoking adults. Smokeless tobacco (also called oral tobacco, chewing tobacco or snuff) causes oral, oesophageal and pancreatic cancer.Cigarettes, cigars, and pipe tobacco are made from dried tobacco leaves. Other substances are added for flavour and to make smoking more pleasant. The smoke from these products is a complex mixture of chemicals produced by the burning of tobacco and its additives. Tobacco smoke is made up of more than 7,000 chemicals, including over 70 known to cause cancer (carcinogens). There is no safe amount for tobacco. Any amount can cause cancer. The dose required in each person is different.So, it is better to SAY NO TO TOBACCO.

Throw Away the Cancer Stick – 10 Effective Ways to Quit Tobacco Addiction!

Dr. Era S. Dutta, Psychiatrist
Have you been contemplating quitting tobacco? Not only smoking, but even chewable tobacco is equally addictive and harmful. Here are some easy tips to get you on the way to achieve your goal of having a Tobacco-free life.WILL POWER – Everything in life depends on how badly you want it. Once you set your mind to something, impossible is nothing.SET A QUIT DATE – Setting a specific date (e.g your birthday, child's birthday) and going cold turkey is the best way. May not help some, for which try the next step.SEEK HELP – Do not be ashamed of speaking to your psychiatrist for both counseling and medication to help boost this process. Nicotine is addictive and you may need some help to quit.Make a CHART – Chart how many cigarettes you smoke and the most common timings. Quit the easiest cigarette first. e.g. the one that you smoke in the evening when you are idle and have nothing to do. Cross that one off, and after two days, cross another regular timing off. For e.g. – post meal. Gradually over a few weeks, you can see those crosses and feel happy.EXERCISE – Open those lungs up and repair the damage.MEDITATION & HYPNOSIS – Both help with increasing your will power and sticking to your resolution. After all, it is mind over body.Nicotine replacement methods – Chewing gums, lozenges, pastilles, patches are available in the market. Use them as per a doctor’s directives only.Desi methods – Craving? Try chewing on an elaichi (cardamom), or a laung (clove) to distract yourself.BUST THE BIGGEST MYTH - Many smokers and tobacco chewers are convinced that they can not have regular bowel movement (motions) without their daily fix. This is absolutely a myth and needs to be addressed by a good doctor. If you do have constipation, it will mostly last a few days at maximum. There are many methods to avoid this as well.TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF AND THOSE AROUND YOU – Both active and passive smoking is bad. Help yourselves and your loved ones. Last but not the least, protect the environment.          I would be happy to answer any queries you have related to Tobacco addiction.           HAPPY QUITTING!

Get Rid of Tobacco Stains for Better Health

Dr. Swasti Jain, Dentist
It is no secret that tobacco use is bad for your health. It is a commonly accepted fact that prolonged exposure to tobacco can cause a multitude of health problems and, in serious cases, fatal disease. What some people fail to realize is how tobacco use negatively affects their oral health. Whether it is cigarettes, chewing tobacco, cigars or pipes, tobacco use wreaks havoc on your mouth in more ways than one. Aside from having tobacco stains on your teeth tobacco use will result in bad breath, gum disease, tooth loss and, more seriously, mouth cancer. Quitting smoking is easier said than done, and it can become less satisfying when the stubborn yellow/brown tobacco stains linger on your teeth long after you have kicked the habit.Nicotine and tar are the two culprits in regard to tobacco stains on teeth. HOW TOBACCO STAINS TEETHNicotine by itself is a colorless substance, but when mixed with oxygen it turns yellow. When tobacco is inhaled or placed in the mouth, nicotine and tar settle into the oral cavity. These substances are able to leach their way into microscopic openings in our enamel, resulting in a yellow/brown discoloration of the tooth surface. Luckily, tobacco stains are extrinsic, meaning that they are on the outer layer of the tooth surface and can be removed.HOW TO REMOVE TOBACCO STAINSThe most obvious way to prevent tobacco stains from occurring is to quit smoking, or never start in the first place. Maintaining a good oral hygiene routine by brushing at least twice a day, flossing each night before brushing and using an antiseptic mouthwash can help to prevent heavy staining and tar build-up, but it will not completely protect your teeth from discoloration caused by tobacco use. If you are unable to brush after each tobacco exposure, rinse thoroughly with water to remove as many harmful substances from your mouth as possible. It is important to visit your dentist for regular check-ups. Not only will the cleaning remove the stains, but your dentist and/or hygienist will do a thorough examination of all your oral tissues to ensure your tobacco use has not caused more serious problems. Some people who build up stain faster than others can opt for a cosmetic cleaning between regular visits to keep the discoloration to a minimum; this should not, however, take the place of a regular checkup.

World No Tobacco Day- Self-Help Tips to Quit Smoking!

Dr. Naveen Jayaram, Psychiatrist
Why should you quit smoking?Tobacco consumption kills about 8 lakh people every year in India. Cigarettes contain addictive nicotine and 4000 chemicals which are known to cause cancer. 40% of people detected with cancer in India are due to tobacco use. Smoking causes long lasting lung and cardiovascular diseases.To begin with:Think of your smoking behaviour, introspect about it, why I have got addicted to it.Do not deny that you are not addicted to smoking. Accept it as a problem.Over confidence about quitting is not good.Affirm yourself that “ though quitting is a problem I can leave it anytime.”Decide a quit date. Do not postpone. Be determined.Take help of family members/ friends/colleagues, they would be very happy to support you.Always remember you have to take a step, do not blame others or stress as a cause for your addiction. “A Journey of healthy and happy life begins with a single step.”Our mind has the capacity to overcome any addiction.How to reduce the quantity:Keep a record of amount and frequency of cigarette use.Change to brand of cigarette you don’t like.Decrease the number of puffs while smoking.Do not inhale deeply.Do not buy cigarette packs and keep a stock, buy less cigarette.How to handle the urge/craving to smoke:Delay the urge by 1 or 2 hrs or by counting numbers. Distract yourself. Remember urge will last only for few minutes. You can use nicotine gums, chewing gums, toffee when the urge is very strong.Manage the stimulus associated with smoking, i.e. drink coffee or juice instead of tea etc.Remove things which remind you about smoking from your house and office (ashtrays, lighters etc.)Take deep breaths, it will calm you.Drink small sips of water.After Quitting Smoking:Feel good about your behaviour.Talk to people about your achievement, it will boost your self esteem.Say no to smoking offers from colleagues or friend.Avoid the company of smokers and try not to take a single puff.Practice relaxation techniques- deep breathing, listening to music, exercises etc.Know about withdrawal symptoms like, irritability, decreased concentration, headache, restlessness.These symptoms are temporary and last only for few days.Do not get disheartened if you fail, keep trying.Quitting is a process and relapse is common, you need to be aware of it.If you are unable to quit in spite of multiple attempts, seek medical help. Medication course is available to make your quit process easy.Always remember with conscious determination you can achieve anything.Smoking Cessation is the single most important step that smokers can take to enhance the length and quality of their lives. Choose life, not tobacco. Happy quitting!!

Prevent Cancer by Helping Others to Quit - Facts About Passive Smoking

Dr. Sunny Jain, Oncologist
Since last two decades, there has been a growing number of evidence regarding the harmful effects of smoking on non-smokers. This shows that passive smoking or second-hand smoking is an absolute health hazard and can be detrimental for public health.Second-hand smoke is a combination of the smoke exhaled by a smoker and the smoke that comes out from the burning tip of a cigarette or cigar. This smoke when inhaled by a non-smoker is known as passive smoking. We all know the bad effects of passive smoking; however, the extent and intensity of damage it cancause is much more.Passive smoking is a need to worry aboutNon-smokers who are exposed to this second-hand smoke increase their risk of lung cancer.If someone you live with constantly smokes and you are exposed to tobacco smoke, you increase your risk of lung cancer by 20% to 30%.Second-hand smoking can lead to premature death in non-smokers.Passive smoke contains about approximately 4000 chemicals of which 69are known to cause cancer.Passive smoking increases the risk of coronary heart diseaseChildren and passive smokingPassive smoking is very harmful for children and it puts them at a high risk for many diseases.Children who are exposed to second-hand smoke are at an increased risk for:Cot death or sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)Developing asthmaRespiratory and breathing illness such as pneumonia and bronchitisRecurrent colds and coughsMiddle-ear infections.In fact, children who grow up with either of their parents smoking are three times more prone to start smoking as well. Besides, individuals exposed to passives moke show a tendency to show either of these symptoms such as irritation of eyes, nose, throat, cough, dizziness, chest pain or shortness of breath.Studies have shown that second-hand smoke is the third leading cause of preventable death after smoking and alcohol abuse. This has led to ban of smoking in public places for safety of public health and promotion of a healthy environment. Environmental tobacco smoke ranks high as a source of indoor air pollution.Furthermore, studies have also suggested that passive smoke contains more number of chemicals than present in active smoking. As the size of particles in passive smoke is much smaller, so they can easily float in the air, which, in turn, is detrimental to the lungs. Usually, a smoker takes in only 15% of tobacco smoke and the remaining is exhaled out into the surroundings. This means, a passive smoker if present in a smoky room for two hours would be equivalent to have smoked four cigarettes.Thus, even though active smoking is much harmful than passive smoking, second-hand smoke also contains numerous harmful chemicals and carcinogens.If you are exposed to second-hand smoke, here are certain steps you can take to avoid exposure:Ask your guests to smoke outside the house.When you with children, visit non-smoking places.Sit away from smoking areas in public places.Educate others about ill effects of passive smoking.

Oral Cancer - Say No to Tobacco

Dr. Sumit Dubey, Dentist
As we all know because of best diagnostic tools and increased awareness of Cancer via government programme, initiative of Non government organization, individuals and also cancer survivors , we are able to control to some extent. But cancer still exists down the rural areas and many other remote areas. Just sharing few thoughts for the same. Take control by making healthy changes in your life such as eating a healthy diet and getting regular assessments. It's well recognized that your odds of developing cancer are affected by the lifestyle choices you make.Therefore if you’re nervous about cancer prevention, take comfort in the fact that some simple lifestyle changes can make a big difference. 1. Tobacco is strictly "NO" - Smoking has been linked to various types of cancer — including cancer of the lung, bladder, cervix and kidney - Chewing tobacco has been linked to cancer of the oral cavity and pancreas. Even if you don’t use tobacco, exposure to second-hand smoke might increase your risk of lung cancer - Avoiding tobacco — or deciding to stop using it — is one of the most important health decisions you can make. It’s also an important part of cancer prevention. If you need help quitting tobacco, ask your doctor about stop-smoking products and other strategies for quitting 2. A Healthy Diet is your "Best Friend" - Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Base your diet on fruits, vegetables and other foods from plant sources — such as whole grains and beans. - Eat lighter and leaner by choosing fewer high-fat foods, particularly those from animal sources. High-fat diets tend to be higher in calories and might increase the risk of overweight or obesity — which can, in turn, increase cancer risk. - Drink alcohol only in moderation. The risk of various types of cancer — including cancer of the breast, colon, lung, kidney and liver — increases with the amount of alcohol you drink and the length of time and your frequency 3. Physical Activity is a "MUST" - Sustaining a healthy weight might lower the risk of various types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, prostate, lung etc - Physical activity on its own might lower the risk of breast cancer and colon cancer - For considerable health benefits, strive to get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic physical activity. You can also do a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. As a general goal, include at least 30 minutes of physical activity in your daily routine 4. Safeguard yourself from the "SUN" - Stay out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are strongest. - When you’re outdoors, stay in the shade as much as possible. Sunglasses and a broad-rimmed hat help, too. - Wear tightly woven, loose fitting clothing that covers as much of your skin as possible. Opt for bright or dark colors, which reflect more ultraviolet radiation than pastels or bleached cotton. - Always use sunscreen when you’re outdoors, and reapply often 5. Get "VACCINATED" - Hepatitis B. Hepatitis B can increase the risk of developing liver cancer. The hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for certain high-risk adults — such as adults who are sexually active but not in a mutually monogamous relationship, people with sexually transmitted infections, intravenous drug users, men who have sex with men, and health care or public safety workers who might be exposed to infected blood or body fluids. - Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted virus that can lead to cervical and other genital cancers as well as squamous cell cancers of the head and neck. The HPV vaccine is available to both men and women age 26 or younger who didn’t have the vaccine as adolescents 6. "AVOID" dangerous actions - Limit your number of sexual partners, and use a condom when you have sex. The more sexual partners you have in your lifetime, the more likely you are to contract a sexually transmitted infection — such as HIV or HPV. People who have HIV or AIDS have a higher risk of cancer of the anus, liver and lung. HPV is most often associated with cervical cancer, but it might also increase the risk of cancer of the anus, penis, throat, vulva and vagina. - Don’t share needles. Sharing needles with an infected drug user can lead to HIV, as well as hepatitis B and hepatitis C — which can increase the risk of liver cancer. If you’re concerned about drug abuse or addiction, seek professional help 7. Get regular "MEDICAL CHECK UP" - Regular self-exams and screenings for various types of cancers — such as cancer of the skin, colon, prostate, cervix and breast — can increase your chances of discovering cancer early, when treatment is most likely to be successful. - Ask your doctor about the best cancer-screening schedule for you. Take cancer prevention into your own hands, starting today. The rewards will last a lifetime.

The Effects of Smoking on Oral Health

Dr. Parag M. Khatri, Dentist
When you see the warning on cigarette packages — "Quitting smoking now greatly reduces serious risks to your health." — What smoking-related diseases come to mind? Lung cancer, probably. Emphysema, maybe. But, did you know that half of periodontal (gum) disease in smokers is caused by smoking? Chronic (long-term)gum disease can lead to the loss of your teeth.Studies conducted to examine the effects of smoking on oral health have found that tobacco use may be one of the biggest risk factors in the development of periodontal disease.Not only does smoking increase the chance that you will develop gum disease, it makes treatment much more difficult and less likely to be successful. Smoking also lessens your mouth's ability to heal, so much so that many of the treatments you may want and need will not work well if you continue to smoke.For example, crowns and bridges in a person who has gum disease will not look very good because the gum disease will cause bone loss and receding gums around the crown edges. Implants are much more likely to fail in people who smoke. Popular cosmetic procedures, such as porcelain laminates, also will not be successful in a person who smokes.Periodontal (gum) disease is a bacterial infection that destroys soft tissue and bone that anchors your teeth to your jawbones. The bacteria found in dental plaque that forms in the pockets around your teeth and your body's reaction to the plaque contribute to the breakdown of soft tissue and bone.Smoking tobacco products can make gum disease get worse more quickly. In early stages of the disease, you may notice that your gums bleed when you brush or floss. As the infection worsens, your gums begin to break down and pull away from your teeth, forming pockets.Later, the pockets between your teeth and gums deepen as more of the supporting structures are destroyed.Ultimately, your teeth may become loose and painful and may even fall out.Studies have shown that smokers have more calculus (tartar) than nonsmokers. This maybe the result of a decreased flow of saliva. Smokers have more severe bone loss and more deep pockets between their teeth and gums than nonsmokers. Among specific findings, smokers were 2.6 to 6 times more likely to have gum destruction than nonsmokers, and severe bone loss was 4.7 times greater among current or former heavy smokers compared with people who never smoked."Smokers have less gum bleeding and redness, which can lead to the false impression that the gums are healthy. It is therefore very important that tobacco smokers have regular dental exams to evaluate their oral and gingival health," Dr.Albert says.Researchers still are studying just what smoke does to oral tissue, but it appears to interfere with basic functions that fight disease and promote healing. Researchers have found that smoking affects the way gum tissue responds to all types of treatment."It is believed that the chemicals contained in tobacco interfere with the flow of blood to the gums, leading to a slow down in the healing process and making the treatment results less predictable and often unfavorable," Dr. Albert says.One reason smokers are more likely than nonsmokers to lose their teeth if they get gum disease is that smoking can slow the healing process after periodontal treatment or any kind of oral surgery. One study found that smokers were twice as likely as nonsmokers to lose teeth in the five years after completing periodontal therapy. Additionally, the American Academy of Periodontology reports that in most studies of nonsurgical periodontal treatment, smokers showed less improvement than nonsmokers. Smokers also responded less favorably than nonsmokers to surgical treatment."It is not just cigarette smoke that contributes to periodontal disease," Dr.Albert says. All tobacco products, including pipe tobacco, smokeless tobacco and cigars, can affect the health of your gums.In a study conducted at Temple University and published in the Journal of Periodontology in 2000, researchers reported that 17.6% of former cigar or pipe smokers had moderate to severe gum disease.In addition, experts say pipe smokers experience similar rates of tooth loss as cigarette smokers, and smokeless tobacco can cause the gums to recede,increasing the chance of losing the bone and fibers that hold teeth in place.The only good news about smoking and the health of your teeth and gums is that the Surgeon General's warning holds true — quitting now does greatly reduce serious risks to your health. A recent study reported that the likelihood of having periodontal disease was not significantly different among former smokers who had quit 11 years before and people who never smoked.Even reducing the amount you smoke seems to help. One study found that people who smoked more than a pack and a half per day were six times more likely to have periodontal disease than nonsmokers, whereas those who smoked less than a half pack per day had only three times the risk."The dental office is a good place to visit for help with quitting. Your dentist can show you the effect of smoking on your mouth and teeth. She or he can help you set a quit date and provide you with advice on which medications can help you quit, such as nicotine patches or gum," Tobacco use may pose the greatest threat to your health as a risk factor for oral cancer. The American Cancer Society reports that:Implant FailureImplants can be used to replace lost teeth in people who smoke, but smokers should know they are at increased risk for the procedure to fail.Studies that have examined dental implants in smokers and nonsmokers have consistently found that patients who smoke have more implant failures.  "As a result, it is important that patients who smoke and who are considering having a dental implant placed be made aware of the fact that their tobacco use increases the chance that the implant will fail.They should be encouraged to quit smoking before undergoing the procedure and should be provided with tobacco-cessation counseling and support," he says.

Smoking Effects on Teeth and Oral Cavity

Dr. Swasti Jain, Dentist
It is widely known that smoking can have a great number of adverse effects on the health of the smoker. Due to the nature by which the action of smoking is performed, it is only natural that oral health would be one of the areas most negatively affected by the act. It is very important, therefore, that a smoker take extra care of his/her mouth and teeth. There are ways in which a smoker can help to keep the damages of smoking from doing further harm through proper oral care.Oral Health Problems Caused By SmokingAmong the most common oral problems, smokers are at an increased risk for gum disease. Smokers are four times more likely of developing this problem than non-smokers.Due to the excess of harmful chemicals in cigarette smoke, smokers are twice more likely to suffer tooth loss than non-smokers.Smokers are at a higher risk for developing leukoplakia, leading to throat, lung, and oral cancers. It can cause the salivary glands to become inflamed and contribute to deterioration of bone structure. Smokers also have a harder time recovering from dental procedures such as periodontal treatments, dental implants, and tooth extraction. Smokers are at a greater risk of developing dry socket from tooth extraction procedures. When dry socket occurs, the patient experiences severe pain in the affected area due to the bone and nerve endings being exposed.In addition to these medical ailments, smoking can also cause vanity issues impacting the teeth and mouth. Due to an increased and steady buildup of plaque and tarter, the teeth of a smoker are less attractive in appearance. Smoking also stains the teeth and can cause bad breath. In some smokers, the tongue can develop a condition known as black hairy tongue, due to a growth that may grow as a result of tobacco use. The condition causes the tongue to become yellow, green, black, or brown, and give the appearance of being hairy. Smokers may also lose the sensation of taste and smell.Dental Hygiene Tips to Improve Oral HealthWhile quitting smoking is the most effective way to ensure better oral healthHaving a proper oral hygiene plan is extremely important for smokers. Smokers should be brushing, flossing, and using a tongue cleaner and mouthwash on a regular basis, at least twice daily. By staying on top of regular dentist visits, smokers can also benefit from professional cleanings.People who smoke should also check for recurrent bleeding in the mouth, lesions, swelling, and lumps. White, red, or dark patches on the inside of the mouth, under the tongue, and on the cheeks that last more than two weeks should be brought to the attention of a dentist. Lumps on the lips and gums can also indicate a more serious problem, as should numbness or pain in any part of the mouth.

Smoking Is Injurious to Your Eyes Too!!!

Dr. Manoj Rai Mehta, Ophthalmologist
Smoking causes damage to the visual function as well.  The spectrum is wide, from simple redness of eyes to profound loss of vision!  It has been found that chances of developing blindness in old age are four fold in the smoking population than the non smokers.Tobacco smoke contains reactive free radicals that cause oxidative damage to the body cells. There are two different populations of free radicals- one in the tar phase that are relatively stable and the other in the gas phase that are unstable and highly reactive. Free Radicals react with the DNA in the cells causing molecular injury.Smoke causes irritation to the surface tissues of the eye leading to dilatation of blood vessels, puffiness of lids and watering.  Pre- existing Dry Eye Disease gets aggravated by smoking and is also an important cause of the same.Cataract chances in a smoker are two times that of a non smoker.  Lens proteins get coagulated due to free radical injury.Uveitis, inflammation of inner, vascular coat of the eye is also twice as common in smokers as compared to the normal population.Glaucoma, a disorder of optic nerve often characterised by high pressures in the eye is associated with tobacco smoking.  Smoking further damages the already compromised optic nerve!Detachment of Retina has been found two times more often in smokers. Incidence of Age Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD) is three times more in the smoking population. Cyanide in tobacco smoke can cause irreversible damage to the Optic Nerve, a condition known as tobacco amblyopia.Unfortunately tobacco use in forms other than smoking also causes damage to the visual function in the same way!The tobacco related damage is significant to the structure and functioning of delicate eye tissues. It is a matter of choice alone to prevent this much avoidable damage.   Stop smoking now...and forever!