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Rye Smiles for Life
10614 Warwick Avenue, Ste A, Fairfax, VA 22030

Dangers to Your Health and Teeth: Smoking and Tobacco Use

Tobacco use has been a prevalent problem in society for thousands of years, but it has only been in the last few decades that we have truly started to unravel the major impact it has on the body and the environment.

Smoking and tobacco use causes a host of issues in all bodily systems, causing tissue death in the lungs, increased risk of cancers and disease, brain damage, tooth loss, vision problems, reproductive harm, weakening of the immune system, and even early death. Nearly half of those who smoke will die as a result of tobacco-related illness. A common illness and the most notable one caused by smoking is cancer. 20% of cancer diagnosed and 30% of deaths related to cancer in the United States originate from smoking. The majority of lung cancer deaths originate from smoking, a catastrophic 80% of them.

While cancer is the most well-known disease associated with smoking, it isn’t the only illness people who use tobacco can develop. Smoking and tobacco use can lead to cardiovascular disease and increased risk of stroke or heart attack, which can cause premature death. A condition called COPD, short for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is also a common ailment found among smokers. Smoking attacks the immune system, as compounds such as nicotine, carbon monoxide, ammonia, and formaldehyde have immunosuppressive effects that make the body less capable of fighting off pathogens. This causes a higher likelihood of suffering from viral and bacterial infections. Tooth decay, tooth loss, and other oral health issues are especially prevalent within smoking populations. Periodontitis, also referred to as severe gum disease, causes the gum line to pull away from teeth and in turn, damages the bone and tissue that hold them in place, causing them to fall out or need extraction. The physical effects are not the only thing to worry about when it comes to using tobacco, there are significant mental health effects along with it. Smoking can increase symptoms of depression and anxiety in vulnerable individuals. The substance in tobacco products called nicotine also causes physical and emotional dependence. Addiction causes higher rates of depression, stress, and anxiety, and can increase risky behavior that may result in death or injury.

The personal effects of tobacco usage are a struggle to deal with on their own, but what many fail to consider is that smoking and tobacco use doesn’t exclusively affect the user. Smoking in the same household as children and non-smokers puts them at higher risk of certain cancers and heart disease. Secondhand smoke contains the same carcinogens and toxic compounds that the smoker inhales directly, and can be just as dangerous to the people nearby. Young children are especially vulnerable to secondhand smoke, causing lower respiratory infections that require hospitalization, and even sudden infant death syndrome. On the topic of babies, smoking while pregnant also has a significant effect on the development of a fetus, potentially causing a baby to be born prematurely. It may even result in miscarriage or stillbirth. Birth defects may also be seen in babies whose mothers smoked during their development.

Tobacco usage is harmful and in many cases, deadly. The continued use of it over time degrades human health to a point where the body cannot fully recover, and many succumb to the illnesses they develop as a result of it. It affects you, the people around you, and the environment you live in. Smoking and tobacco use should never be picked up in the first place, and when it is, quitting may seem daunting. However, the benefits gained from quitting may extend the quitter’s lifespan and reduce their risk of heart disease and cancer.

After just 24 hours of quitting, there is a decrease in a smoker’s chance of having a heart attack. After 1 year, the risk of heart disease drops to half of the risk a regular smoker has. 5 years after quitting, the risk of stroke is the same as someone who has never smoked in their life. Finally, 10 years later, the risk of dying from lung cancer is reduced by 50%. Current smokers can improve their health and decrease their risk of disease and death by quitting, and they can save the people around them from suffering higher risks as well. Starting to smoke would mean ruining your health in the long term, and the time it takes to undo only some of the damage is not worth using tobacco, even only once.

Using tobacco is dangerous. There is no reason to start, and there is every reason to quit.

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  • Monday
    8:00 AM – 4:30 PM
  • Tuesday
    8:00 AM – 4:30 PM
  • Wednesday
    8:00 AM – 4:30 PM
  • Thursday
    8:00 AM – 4:30 PM

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Rye Smiles for Life

10614 Warwick Avenue, Ste A, Fairfax, VA 22030

(703) 565-2503