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Smoking and you

By Senior Airman Olivia Raines 2nd Dental Squadron

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By the year 2030, I will kill one in six people. Every time you decide to take a "drag" from me, I am dragging five minutes out of your life. I cause 87 percent of lung cancer. What do you think I am?

I am an everyday necessity for some, and for others, I am taboo, or contraband. I am a cigarette.

Smoking will put you at greater risk for many diseases and cancers such as heart disease, high blood pressure, lung cancer, throat cancer, strokes, and even aneurysms; and these are only a few of the associated risks of smoking.

Many smokers are not aware of the oral dangers associated with smoking. Smoking can cause gingivitis, a periodontal disease commonly known as gum disease, which can cause loose teeth. Also, it can lead to bad breath, an increase in oral ulcers, and oral cancers.

Smoking is most prevalent in 18-25 year-olds, comprising 93 percent of all smokers in the United States. So think about your brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, and friends and how it will affect them just because you are around.

Secondhand smoke can be inhaled by anyone around a smoker, the person who is inhaling only 15 percent of the smoke, leaving the remaining 85 percent for any person who is around. This person can be you, your child or any member of your family. In secondhand smoking, you are being exposed to four times the amount of smoke as the actual smoker. It is a dangerous habit that can affect anyone around you potentially hurting those you love. In short, be aware of your surroundings, and know the risks associated with smoking.

The following resources are available from the 2nd Dental Squadron, 2nd Medical Group and non-profit organizations to assist in your tobacco cessation efforts:
  • A variety of medications are available in the pharmacy, and options are available for personnel on PRP. The prescription process can be initiated through the American Heart Association's Lung HelpLine (1-877-695-7848), or by calling your PCM.
  • Tobacco cessation programs at the HAWC 456-6010
  • The Department Of Defense's tobacco cessation program Make Everyone Proud has resources available at www.ucanquit2.org.
  • Web-based cessation programs are available through the AHA at www.lungusa.org.
  • The Louisiana Tobacco Quitline (1-800-548-8252)
  • Dental Clinic 456-6719
(Some information courtesy of www.smoking-facts.net/Teen-Smoking-Facts.html, http://quitsmoking.about.com/cs/secondhandsmoke/a/secondhandsmoke.htm, http://dentistry.about.com/od/dentalhealth/a/smoking.htm.)