Confession of inveterate smoker
Trying to smoke a cigarette once, just out of curiosity, or for the company, we unwittingly become slaves of this bad habit for many years. Your humble servant met with cigarettes at age of fourteen, and nearly twenty-three years I was dependent on it. Harm from tobacco smoking is obvious. The lungs and cardiovascular system are affected, and then the teeth, oral cavity and facial skin. Bad breath, associated with the smell of ashtrays filled with cigarette butts, smoke-filled clothes and hostility of surrounding people can be added. At serious risk is the health of children in smoking families. On my example, I can say that at a young age when I went in for sports and swimming three times a day, the volume of my lungs was approximately six and a half liters. After twenty years of active smoking, I hardly breathed a spirometer, only three liters of air. Having shortness of breath and excess weight (and my weight was more than one hundred and twelve kilograms), I barely even went up the stairs to the third floor. My health is slowly falling into decay, and I had to do something.
How I quit smoking, I’ll tell you a little later. And now, as head of the clinic “Dentistry Palmyra,” I want to stop on the dental aspects of the harm of smoking, because smokers are at risk of losing their teeth and a beautiful smile much earlier than their peers. Dentists in our clinic face with smoking patients who have problems with oral hygiene every day and as a consequence, the disease teeth, gums and periodontal tissue. All dental problems that have smokers and are links in a chain, can be divided into several categories.
Firstly, the amateurs of smoke ugly resistant yellow-brown plaque on the teeth is produced, the so-called “smoker’s plaque”, consisting of a carcinogenic tar, which causes increased formation of tartar.
Secondly, the normal blood flow to the gums is violated because of the high temperature of the smoke, which leads to a hardening of blood vessels, drying and loss (recession) of gingival tissues, expose the necks of the teeth. In some cases there is inflammation of the gums, gingivitis starts turning into periodontitis.
Third, if do not clean teeth in time, not to eliminate “smoker’s plaque” and gum disease is not treated, periodontal tissues are weakened so that your teeth become unsteady and begin to just fall out. Smoking worsens this process and the efforts for the treatment of periodontitis are hard. It is scientifically proven that smokers have two times less own teeth than nonsmokers.
Fourth, there may be complications at any dental treatment in smokers. Especially it concerns the removal of teeth, tooth implantation, complex surgical procedures in the oral cavity and rehabilitation of patients in the postoperative period. In other words – the healing process in the oral cavity is much harder and slower, which confirms our long experienced surgeon-dentist.
Fifth, the combustion products of tobacco smoke are carcinogenic, and it is a direct path to cancer of lips, tongue and oral mucosa. The main patients of oncology clinics are just fans of tobacco smoke. But all the advice and warnings are often ignored by us or are classified as minor. When we are young and full of energy, we think: “if something happens, then it will not be with me or that I am able to quit smoking at any time,” and they do not realize the harm of the habit. I can give you an example of life when a young man in a supermarket was sold a pack of cigarettes with the words: “Smoking causes impotence”, but he seriously asked the cashier to change it to another, with the words “Smoking causes lung cancer”. It’s not funny, it’s very sad. But, as you know, the point of the problem is the same as the contents of these packs of cigarettes. But the hope for improvement still exists.
In recent years, smoking has ceased to be fashionable habit in many western countries. On the contrary, now it is very fashionable to lead a healthy lifestyle, go in for sport, have healthy teeth, white smile and do not smoke in developed capitalist countries! I advise all smokers try to quit the habit. Or at least make a first attempt towards this difficult decision. How to do it? Your humble servant tried to quit six or seven times, I just do not remember, but all attempts ended in failure. In a week of abstention craving for tobacco smoke has developed into an obsession and completely won my doubting power of will. And, as before, the inhaling by inhaling, the number of smoked cigarettes grew rapidly during the day.
In 2003 I began to smoke like crazy, it was a so-called “peak” of my smoker experience. In August this year we opened a dental office, a working rhythm was very tense and nerves strained to the limit – to start a new business was not easy. Smoked one cigarette, I began to smoke another, and so on throughout the day. In the evening there were three empty packs of cigarettes in the trash. Yes, yes – three packs a day or two boxes a week, this was my crazy “normal” consumption of nicotine. By the end of the year I began to gasp and covered with sweat from the slightest physical exertion. But I was not ready to quit smoking. The case helped. There’s a silver lining to the cloud.
In January 13, 2004 I fell ill very seriously. The temperature was forty, and it was difficult to bring down the temperature, and heavy, not passing a cough with bloody sputum began at night. In the morning, yet the temperature brought a little bit down, but breathing was very heavy – thorax and abdomen were aching. I gasped like a fish out of water and could not do the normal full breath. Hand habitually reached for a cigarette, but it, as they say, simply “did not go.” I even failed to make a little puff, and a nasty cough immediately began. And then I said to myself – either now or never. I have to quit it! To back up a temporary physical impossibility to smoke, I thought of a key phrase (psychologists call it the “anchor”): “If I smoke, then … (happens something unpleasant).” The exact words I, with your permission, will not tell you, because this “anchor” works successfully for all the last six years. Yes, and everyone should have their own, personal “anchor”. I gave up smoking. In memory of that day in my office is still lying red pack with smoked cigarettes which I did not smoke.
What did I feel after quitting smoking? During illness I did not want to smoke at all because I could not breathe because of cough. After recovery, cravings to smoke slowly woke up and I had to take the controversial decision to leave (without cigarettes) out of town for a few days. Ten winter days passed very quickly in the sanatorium-preventorium near Kharkov. Fresh air in the pine forest, inhalation procedures and salt baths help to restore normal breathing and calm the nervous system. But the main role in the rejection of cigarettes played my keyword phrase anchor. As soon as the desire to smoke becomes unbearable, I mentally uttered the secret word, and immediately became much easier. Craving for cigarettes disappeared fully in five or six months, but I cleared my throat a very long time.
6 years passed and I do not smoke. I managed to win this long, almost narcotic, tobacco dependence. Now I try to live a healthy life, once a week I train in a pool of my youth – “Aquarena”, I swim 2100 meters for forty minutes and, contrary to myth, lost seventeen pounds. What else to add to this? Lung volume was restored to five and a half liters, and on the twelfth floor I go almost breathless. Quality of life has become much better, I can breathe and feel young again. All of the above is not a fairy tale and fantasy; these are real events that happened in my life lately. We must always remember that our health is in our hands, and it is only necessary to us. Therefore, it is up to you to solve continue to smoke or to quit smoking once and for all. See you soon!
Igor Zubkov, Russia