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The Great American Smokeout: What’s new this year?

Nov. 19, 2015
The Great American Smokeout is a yearly event that encourages smokers to quit and remember those who have died from tobacco use. This article provides resources to share with patients and updates on research.
Did you tell your patients about the Great American Smokeout yesterday, November 19? Oral health-care professionals can provide patient resources, including quitline information or guidance toward local tobacco cessation classes. This article will discuss tobacco-related issues.

The Great American Smokeout website has tools and resources for ongoing use. They include the benefits of quitting, the latest news about tobacco and smoking, and a new “Quit for Life” mobile app from Alere Wellbeing, available for iPhone and Android. There is also information and an infographic on “the True Cost of Smoking.” This infographic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reinforces the deadliness of tobacco.

In the literature
Behavior change counseling (e.g., motivational interviewing) for tobacco use cessation and promotion of healthy lifestyles was recently the subject of a systematic review in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology. It is available for download at no charge. The review concluded that brief interventions conducted in the dental practice setting were effective, providing rationale for behavioral support. (1) The European Society of Cardiology (ESC) claims that all forms of smoking, including the waterpipe, smokeless tobacco, and e-cigarettes, are bad for the heart. (2) One study showed that stopping smoking after a heart attack has immediate benefits, including less chest pain, better quality of daily life and improved mental health. (3)

READ MORE |On 2015 World No Tobacco Day, will we know how many the drug really kills?

Other research shows that both smokers and people exposed to passive smoke require more anesthetic and painkillers to reach the same level of anesthesia as non-smokers. (4) The research proposed that that nicotine may affect the metabolism of anesthetic drugs in the liver, or it may desensitize some nociceptors (i.e., nerve cells) that sense pain.

Regarding oral manifestations, a new study found that people who smoke regularly have a higher risk of losing teeth. (5) Male smokers were 3.6 times more likely to lose teeth than male nonsmokers, while female smokers were 2.6 times more likely. The association between smoking and tooth loss was higher for younger people, and heavy smokers had a higher risk of losing their teeth than those who smoked fewer cigarettes. The study used data from a long-term longitudinal study, EPIC (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition) with 23,376 participants. (5)

READ MORE | Oral Cancer Awareness Month and tobacco update

And lastly, smoking has been shown to influence implant health. (6) Data from a recent study suggest that smoking shapes the peri-implant microbiomes, even in states of clinical health, by encouraging a pathogen-rich community. In both smokers and nonsmokers, peri-implant mucositis appears to be a crucial event in disease progression, creating communities that are at risk for harm. It was found that ecological succession follows markedly different pathways in smokers and nonsmokers, indicating a need for personalized therapeutics for control and prevention of disease in smokers and nonsmokers. A future article will review e-cigarettes.

This article originally appeared in RDH eVillage Focus, a newsletter prepared for dental professionals looking for hard-hitting, current information. You can subscribe here.

1. Ramseier CA, Suvan JE. Behaviour change counselling for tobacco use cessation and promotion of healthy lifestyles: a systematic review. J Clin Periodontol. 2015;42(Suppl 16):S47–S58 doi: 10.1111/jcpe.12351.
2. Perk J, De Backer G, Gohlke H, et al. European Guidelines on cardiovascular disease prevention in clinical practice (version 2012): The Fifth Joint Task Force of the European Society of Cardiology and Other Societies on Cardiovascular Disease Prevention in Clinical Practice (constituted by representatives of nine societies and by invited experts). Eur Heart J. 2012;33 (13):1635. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehs092.
3. Buchanan DM, Arnold SV, Gosch KL, et al. Association of smoking status with angina and health-related quality of life after acute myocardial infarction. Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes. Published August 25, 2015.
4. Smokers and those exposed to passive smoke require more anesthetic and painkiller during operations. ScienceDaily. Published May 29, 2015. Accessed November 18, 2015.
5. Dietrich T, Walter C, Oluwagbemigun K, et al. Smoking, Smoking Cessation, and Risk of Tooth Loss: The EPIC-Potsdam Study. J Dent Res. 2015;94(10):1369-1375.
6. Tsigarida AA, Dabdoub SM, Nagaraja HN, Kumar PS. The Influence of Smoking on the Peri-Implant Microbiome. J Dent Res. 2015;94(9)1202-17.

Maria Perno Goldie, RDH, MS, is the editorial director of RDH eVillage Focus.