Quitting smoking is never easy. Due to the addictive nature of nicotine, it can be difficult to even know where to begin. So, how about trying to stop smoking for a day as a first step?
National No Smoking Day takes place on 09 March 2023, and encourages everyone to put down their cigarettes, vapes and other tobacco and smoking products to see how this can make a difference.
The dangers of smoking (and vaping!)
As you may already be aware, smoking is very harmful to oral health.
Tobacco products (cigarettes, cigars and rolling tobacco) have been linked with a number of oral health conditions, including:
Higher risk of tooth decay
This is because these products contain a toxic cocktail of chemicals, many of which are considered carcinogenic (able to cause cancer)
Although vaping may be a healthier alternative to smoking as these products are often tobacco-free, recent research has indicated that vaping can still negatively impact oral health. Vaping can restrict blood flow to the gums, enhancing the risk of people developing gum disease. If not treated, gum disease can eventually lead to tooth loss. Additionally, vaping has been suggested to increase the risk of tooth decay, mainly because these solutions limit saliva production
Tips to help you quit!
Of course, stopping smoking, even for a day, isn’t always simple. The nicotine present in tobacco products and e-cigarettes is a highly addictive substance that can be difficult to give up.
In preparation for National No Smoking Day, here are some tips to help you take that all-important first step.
Make a list of your reasons to quit – putting your goals in clear writing can be highly motivational!
Tell people you’re quitting. This way you will have support and know that you’ve committed to a goal.
Keep busy and exercise! Often, smoking is a habit that is triggered when people are relaxed or bored – so by keeping busy, you can keep your mind off your cravings!
Use products such as nicotine patches to help.
Just stopping smoking for a single day can make a huge difference. The NHS states that after just 20 minutes, your pulse will already be returning to normal. After 8 hours, the oxygen levels in your blood will begin to rise, and in 48 hours, all carbon monoxide will have been flushed out of your body, leading to an improved sense of taste and smell, among other benefits.
Although giving up smoking for a day is difficult, the benefits are immeasurable. The NHS has a number of excellent online resources for those looking to quit, including a free online app that tracks your progress, how much money you’re saving and gives daily support. You can also turn to your dental practice for support – your dentist will be able to give you advice and encouragement to stop smoking and make all the difference to your health.