I know I talk a lot about the hazards of smoking in this blog, but that is because everyday I see how cigarette smoking contributes to gum disease and loss of teeth. Now the latest surgeon general’s report reveals that smokers today face a higher risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer than smokers in the 1960’s. This is because the design and composition of cigarettes has been changed. Even though people on average smoke fewer cigarettes, the risk of disease is higher. Some of the cigarettes today are more addictive than those smoked in the past. This is because the manufacturers have designed the cigarettes so the cigarettes deliver more nicotine – thus the addiction is induced and sustained. This re-design of cigarettes is a sneaky tactic on the part of the cigarette manufacturers. It is a practice that demands government regulation.
The journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research published an article last week with the findings that although nicotine content of cigarettes has been more or less stable for the past 10 years, the amount of that nicotine delivered to research machines as surrogates for smokers has been rising. The researcher concluded that changes in cigarette design have increased the efficiency of nicotine delivery to a smoker’s lungs. The effect is that people may become addicted more easily and people already smoking may find it more difficult to stop the habit. Techniques that cigarette manufacturers use include filter design and cigarette paper that maximizes the inhalation of nicotine. The manufacturers also add chemicals to change the taste of cigarettes so it is not as harsh and make it easier to deeply inhale. The surgeon general’s report concludes that nicotine increases the risk for disease and affects health of the fetus. Although the report doesn’t address dental health, just look through my blog to see how cigarette smoking destroys teeth.