Smoking Cessation: Nicotine Dependence Q & A

girl breaking a cigarette to quit smokingAccording to the American Cancer Society, only about 4% to 7% of people are able to quit smoking without medicines or other help. The chemical, nicotine, is the cause for tobacco addiction, whether it’s smoked or chewed. The dependence on nicotine means you may not be able to stop using the substance, although it is causing harm to your body.  To help you defeat a nicotine addiction, Dr. Ann Kania is happy to offer council on your journey towards smoking cessation.

How Does Smoking Affect My Health?

Q: Where did nicotine come from?

A: According to Toxipedia, nicotine was first extracted in 1828 from nicotiana tabacum (tobacco leaves) which are indigenous to the Americas. Nevertheless, the plant’s use as medicine and as a stimulant dates back nearly 2000 years. Also, nicotine was used as an insecticide beginning in 1763 because of its potent nervous system effects, which is highly effective at killing and debilitating insects.

Q: Why is nicotine addictive?

A: When nicotine is introduced to your body through smoking/smokeless tobacco, it enters your bloodstream and affects your brain in just over 10 seconds. The chemical arrives in your brain and provokes the release of adrenaline into your body, which is the buzz of energy or pleasure you feel. Your body eventually builds a tolerance to nicotine, which means you will need to smoke or use smokeless tobacco more frequently to achieve the buzz you desire. This cycle is the basis of nicotine addiction.

Q: Can smoking affect more than my lungs?

A: Yes. Not only can it affect your lungs, causing lung cancer or lung disease, smoking can lead to various other systemic health complications, including some of the following:

  • Other forms of cancer besides lung cancer
  • Circulatory and heart complications
  • Diabetes
  • Problems with eyesight
  • Impotency and infertility
  • Pregnancy and newborn difficulties
  • Prone to flu, cold, and other illnesses
  • Tooth decay and gum disease

Q: Will smoking affect my oral health?

A: Yes. There are more than 7000 chemicals created when the 600 ingredients of cigarettes burn. The myriad of chemicals can affect the proper function of soft-tissue cells in your mouth, as well as create a more hospitable environment for bacteria by leading to dry mouth. The oral conditions created by tobacco smoke significantly increase your risk for bacteria-induced dental diseases, like gum disease, that lead to tooth loss. Also, blood circulation can be affected by the bombardment of toxins, which can reduce healthy, oxygenated blood to your oral tissues and inhibit proper healing.

About Dr. Ann Kania

As a board-certified periodontist, Dr. Ann Kania is specially qualified to diagnose and treat issues concerning periodontal tissue and the supportive structures of a patient’s smile, as well as place dental implants for patients with missing teeth. She also takes joy in helping patients quit their smoking and smokeless tobacco habits to improve their oral and overall health. To seek Dr. Kania’s help and expertise, visit our office or contact us today at (760) 642-0711.