Public Release: 

Dentists encourage patients to quit smoking for life

Canadian Dental Association

Click here for a French version of the release.

National Non-Smoking Week: January 14-20, 2001

Ottawa... National Non-Smoking Week comes at a time when many Canadians are struggling to uphold New Year's resolutions to quit smoking. The Canadian Dental Association (CDA) encourages patients to discuss these efforts with their dentist. "Dentists are alarmed by the devastation of smoking on the oral and overall health of our patients," said CDA president Dr. Burton Conrod, "we want patients to know that their dentist can really help in the fight to quit smoking. Dentistry is all about prevention and quitting smoking can prevent many serious health problems."

Since the majority of Canadians make regular dental visits, dentists are in a unique position to monitor the effects of past smoking like gum disease and oral cancer, as well as to promote new efforts to quit smoking. A fresh-from-the-dentist cleaning can contrast sharply with the typical feeling of a smoker's mouth and provide added incentive to quit.

The Canadian Dental Association has been fighting tobacco use on many fronts. CDA and other concerned health organizations lobbied government through the "Tobacco or Kids" campaign to adopt new warning labels on cigarette packages featuring a number of full colour, disturbing photographs of the effects of smoking. One of the most shocking images is of a mouth with filthy blackened teeth and the warning: "Cigarettes cause mouth diseases".

"Major health effects like lung cancer and heart disease are very serious, but particularly with young people, they may seem a long way off," said Dr. Conrod "These images show the immediate effects of tobacco like ugly yellow stains on teeth, gum disease and bad breath, which directly contradict the glamourous image of smoking and should make an impact on new smokers. The number of young people taking up smoking has increased in recent years and Canada's youth need to know that smoking is the leading cause of preventable death around the world."

Other CDA initiatives include a lobby to increase taxes on tobacco and put those dollars into a trust fund to educate children about the hazards of tobacco. The Canadian Dental Association is the national professional association of Canada's 16,000 dentists. Based in Ottawa, it is the authoritative national voice of dentistry, dedicated to the representation and advancement of the profession, nationally and internationally, and to the achievement of optimal oral health.

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