It’s in the puff of smoke … What about quitting ?

I recently attended a smoking cessation practitioner training course and these were the eye opening things I learnt;

– Tobacco smoking has become a significant global issue causing 5.4 million deaths per year, whilst smoking related diseases also accounting for 1 in 10 adult deaths worldwide. It is responsible for 70% of deaths in developing countries and scarily it is the leading preventable cause of death.

– More closer to home, in New Zealand, smoking is what makes Kiwi’s most sick, outdoing diabetes, obesity, physical inactivity and high blood pressure.

What is causing the damage?

– The inhalation of the smoke is what causes the vast array of smoking related diseases, including those affecting our oral health.

– The smoke, and consequently the poisonous components of cigarettes, are absorbed into our bloodstream and transported all around our bodies.

What makes us hooked?

– Nicotine is the addictive part in cigarettes – it keeps you hooked, it does not cause the cancer or disease but enables the inhaled tar and carbon monoxide to have their destructive effects on the body.

– The science – nicotine binds to receptor sites in the rewards centre in the brain, triggering the release of dopamine influencing mood, feelings of well-being, and attention. 

Since the beginning of time, tobacco companies have targeted our sense of rebellion and our increasing awareness and want to be healthy. They have used ‘cool’ branding as well as celebrities in both movies and directly through advertising. They have advertised ‘safer’ cigarettes through the promotion by health professionals to the introduction of filters, menthol cigarettes and those that suggest a more light or mild form of cigarette.

New Zealand has a vision: by 2025, it is hoped that our future generations of New Zealand children will be free from exposure to tobacco and will enjoy tobacco free lives. It’s time to make a change and City Dentists can help you take steps to stop smoking. It is so important, if you are going to give smoking that you have support from the beginning of your journey – the ability to stamp out the smoking habit becomes easier with this support and a much shorter smoking ‘career’ more likely.

The benefits of quitting smoking are tenfold! No more bad breath, stinky clothes and standing out in the cold in break times! More importantly when you stop smoking, you buy back time. These are some of the potential lifetime health benefits, the longer someone remains smoke-free; 

– Lung function improves with decreased cough, sinus congestion, fatigue and shortness of breath

– Stroke risk returns to level of people who have never smoked

– Lung cancer risk is 30-50% that of continuing smokers

– Cardiovascular heart disease risk returns to a level of risk similar to those who have never smoked

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Other than essential support, the help at hand that we can provide you is Nicotine Replacement Therapy – giving you a safe replacement to smoking as we kick the habit in the butt. The subsidised options of nicotine replacement therapy are;

– Patches (long acting, providing slow continuous withdrawal relief)

– Lozenges (short acting, useful in times when a craving is strong)

– Gum (similar to lozenge)

As a smoking cessation support person, I can provide you with a Quit card that you take to the pharmacy so you can get your treatment choice. 

Any form of nicotine replacement should be used for at least 8-12 weeks and can be used for as long as required. Often using patches, in combination with either lozenges or gum is best. 

The things you should know about nicotine replacement therapy;

– It’s not a magic cure – the journey takes effort, support and strategies!

– It provides the nicotine that is missed, but more slowly and less of it than in cigarettes

– It will take the edge off the discomfort of cravings

– It is a clean and safe way to get nicotine while stopping smoking

There are other options that can be considered, which are not subsidised, that can be purchased at the supermarket or chemist, or those that can only be prescribed by a doctor. These of course can be discussed when you are considering the way you would prefer to tackle stopping smoking.

This post was written by: Lauren Modlik – Dental Hygienist – City Dentists Ltd