Want a black hairy tongue? Just do some heavy smoking. While you're at it you can also lose your teeth, get brown stained teeth, bad breath, receeding gums, mouth sores, delayed healing of your mouth, and oral cancer.
Health & Safety
According to the 2004 Surgeon General’s report, smoking affects almost every organ in the body. Sure, you know smoking is bad for your health. But do you have any idea how bad? See the facts below and check out this interactive video!
Some or all of these can be found in the mouths of cigarette, cigar, and smokeless tobacco users:
1. Brown staining of the teeth
2. Bad breath
3. Black hairy tongue—Heavy smoking can cause an overgrowth of the papilla of the tongue surface. This brown growth traps germs and makes bad breath worse. (include photo)
Increased gum disease—Smokers are 7 times more likely to develop periodontal (tooth and gum) disease than nonsmokers, and the problems increase with the amount smoked.
4. Gum recession—Shrinking gums make teeth sensitive to cold and touch, and more vulnerable to decay. It is impossible to reverse gum recession.
5. Tooth loss—Long-term studies show that most tooth loss in 19 to 40 year olds is found in those who smoke more than 15 cigarettes a day. Using smokeless tobacco causes changes in the cheek where the dip is held. These changes occur beneath the lip and can lead to severe and permanent gum recession, bone and tooth loss.
6. Mouth sores—The palate of heavy smokers turns white and can be littered with red dots located within small raised lumps (smoker’s palate). White patches (leukoplakias), can turn into cancer over time. Red patches (erythroplakias) also can become cancerous.
7. Oral cancer is one of the most difficult cancers to treat. It can spread to other parts of the body quickly. The Surgery needed to treat mouth cancer is often disfiguring. On average, only half of those with the disease survive more than five years.
Have you ever thought that smoking makes you look sophisticated and older? You’re only half right. Smoking does make you look older—but definitely not in a good way. Research shows that next to sun exposure, nothing ages your appearance like smoking. Let us count the ways:
1. Smoking constricts blood flow to the skin, causing a pale grayish complexion. In addition, studies show that smoking damages collagen and elastin, proteins that keep skin smooth and soft. That’s why people who smoke for years have leathery looking skin.
2. Secondhand smoke is yet another skin enemy. It’s full of chemicals that have a drying effect on the skin’s surface. The result is a dull, flaky, blotchy-looking face. Yuck!
3. Smokers smell like cigarettes. And if you smoke yourself, that foul, stale odor is always on your clothes and in your hair.
4. Bad breath and stained teeth are never attractive.
Death & Illness
Smoking kills more people than alcohol, AIDS, car accidents, illegal drugs, murders, and suicides combined, with thousands more dying from spit tobacco use. Of the roughly 416,000 kids who become new regular, daily smokers each year, almost a third will ultimately die from it. In addition, smokers lose an average of 13 to 14 years of life because of their smoking.
1. In the U.S., 400,000 people die each year from their own cigarette smoking.
2. Unless rates decline, 6,000,000+ people under 18 today will ultimately die from smoking.
3. In the U.S., 8.6 million people currently suffer from smoking-related illnesses.
For every person who dies of a smoking-related disease, 20 more people suffer with at least one serious long-term effect of tobacco use:
1. Tobacco use increases the risk of cancer of the lung, kidney, pancreas, stomach, mouth, throat, larynx (voice box), esophagus, bladder, and cervix.
2. Tobacco use doubles the risk of stroke.
3. Studies have also shown that smoking immediately increases blood pressure and heart rate, even in teenagers.
4. Youth smokers are more likely to report worse health than students who don’t smoke. The usual complaints are cough and phlegm, shortness of breath and wheezing, an increase in the number and severity of respiratory illnesses, and a decrease in physical fitness.
5. Heavy cigarette smoking during adolescence is associated with higher risk of anxiety disorders. Current cigarette smoking is a strong determinant of developing depression.
6. Research shows that it doesn’t take long to become addicted to nicotine. Youth who smoke very few cigarettes have symptoms related to nicotine addiction. A 2007 study found that some youth become dependent on nicotine within a day of inhaling their first cigarette!
1. Smoking is associated with a variety of menstrual disorders, including prolonged bleeding.
2. Studies suggest that smokers who are on birth control are more likely to have spotting or bleeding between normal menstrual cycles and increased risk of blood clots, heart attacks, and strokes. In fact, most doctors won’t prescribe birth control to women who smoke!
3. If you want to have kids one day, you may want to think twice about smoking. Cigarette smoking is associated with many reproductive and early childhood health problems, including decreased fertility, premature delivery, stillbirth, low birth weight, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
4. Beginning to smoke as a teenager increases a woman’s risk of early menopause by three times. Smokers often notice symptoms of menopause two to three years earlier than nonsmokers.
5. Worst for last? Smoking is associated with increased risk for cervical cancer.
1. Smoking can damage the arteries that carry blood to the penis. So what? A man’s erection depends on a healthy blood supply to the penis.
2. Smokers are 1.5 times more likely to have erection problems than non-smokers.
Smoking materials (especially cigarettes) are the leading cause of fire deaths and the third leading cause of fire injuries in the U.S. The National Fire Protection Association reports that 700-900 people die each year in fires caused by smoking. As of July 1, 2008, Maryland enacted a law requiring that tobacco companies sell only “self-extinguishing” cigarettes, which are less likely to burn when left unattended and could prevent thousands of fires each year.
1. Most fires related to smoking occur in the home.
2. Most of the fires caused by smoking materials are the result of a cigarette being abandoned or carelessly disposed.
3. Mattresses, trash, and upholstered furniture are the most commonly ignited items in smoking material fires.
A few tips to avoid smoking-related fires:
• Keep smoking materials away from anything that can burn.
• Never smoke in bed.
• Don’t put ashtrays on the arm of sofas.
• Use large, deep ashtrays.
• Run water over the ashtray before throwing it away.
• Don’t leave cigarettes unattended.
• Put out all smoking materials before you walk away.
• Have a smoke detector at home, check it every month and be sure to change old batteries.
• Keep matches and lighters away from children.
Action on Smoking and Health. Retrieved July 2003 from http://ash.org.uk.
American Academy of Periodontology. Retrieved July 2003 from http://www.perio.org.
WHO Oral Health Country/Area Profile Programme. Retrieved July 2003 from http://www.whocollab.od.mah.se.