Every year more than 2.5 million older Americans may be victims of elder abuse, and in some cases dentists serve as the first line of defense.
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Dentists are patients' first line of defense against the adverse effects of tobacco use and nicotine addiction stemming from cigars, cigarettes and spit tobacco. Dentists routinely screen for oral cancer and can help patients with tobacco cessation programs.
"Cigars are marketed as an upscale habit of the wealthy," says Robert Mecklenburg, DDS, MPH, dental coordinator, Smoking and Tobacco Control Program of the National Cancer Institute. "They are portrayed as being related to having money, sophistication and an important social image of which people want to be a part. And kids are aware of what adults partake in."
"People think smoking occasional cigars is fine, but smoking cigars increases nicotine levels in the body," says Dr. Mecklenburg. "And an increase in nicotine means an increase in dependence. In addition, tobacco carcinogens place them at risk of mouth and throat cancer."
Other facts about cigar smoking:
Reviewed: January 2012
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