Working in dentistry, we meet a lot of different personalities and hear a lot of personal stories. Some of them are funny, some are sad and some are worth repeating. When I met Grace, I knew I had to share her story.
Grace, a 43-year old mother of three, had been thinking about quitting smoking for a while. The habit was too expensive, not to mention her older child complained of the smoke and odor. Grace knew smoking wasn’t good for her and was aware of the possible consequences of tobacco. She thought of how nicotine could be destroying her throat and lungs and she felt like she never had fresh breath. TV commercials with warnings popped up regularly and reminded her constantly of the consequences of smoking. But there were also TV ads and advertisements in all the magazines stating vaping was a “safe and satisfying alternative to cigarette tobacco.” When e-cigarettes came on the scene, she was intrigued and thought she had found her salvation – an alternative to the habit of smoking. But had she… After all, several of her co-workers had switched to vaping and said it was safer than cigarettes.
At the vape store, Grace found all kinds of trinkets and flavors: vanilla, cherry, peach, apple, banana, and even cinnamon toast crunch! The lady behind the counter smiled at Grace’s amazement and said, “this doesn’t begin to scratch the list of over 4000 available flavors.” Grace purchased a vaping device and settled on grape flavoring for her unit. She felt like she had made the right decision to quit “smoking” forever.
When Grace arrived home and began opening all the packages that she had purchased, she glanced at the fine print. She quickly noticed this message, WARNING: This product contains nicotine – a highly addictive substance! Grace was surprised and annoyed; she felt misled and trapped.
The research is still out on the side effects of vaping, but what we do know so far is of concern. One brand of vaping pods, currently on the market, contains more nicotine than 20 cigarettes. In a recent study, it was proven that nicotine is highly addictive and can harm brain development in adolescents, which continues into the early to mid-20s. In addition, vaping is known to weaken ones immune system, damages blood vessels and increase ones risk of smoking cigarettes long term. Users inhale a flavored aerosol into their lungs when vaping; the only good thing for our lungs is probably air.
In relation to our teeth, smoking is the number one cause of periodontal disease in our country. Smoke and tobacco smother the bone which retards new bone growth, making teeth loose. This process lasts a lifetime and is non-reversible.
The facts are in; nothing good can come from smoking or vaping. To use this habit is to damage your health, your teeth and others around you. There are several products on the market that can help one “kick the habit.” We suggest contacting your primary healthcare provider as a first step for help.
By the way, Grace decided to “kick the habit all together” – her cigarettes & vaping items can be found in the local landfill. She now shares her story with all her friends and family. Thanks Grace, for sharing your testimony with us!