Tobacco Use
Each year, roughly 200,000 people die from smoking and smokeless tobacco related illnesses. Of that number,13,000 are due to head and neck cancer. Research demonstrates that among those who neither drink or use tobacco products, cancers of the mouth and throat are virtually nonexistent. The upper airway, sinuses, and head and neck areas are vulnerable to the toxins associated with tobacco products.

Tobacco Effects
The detrimental side effects and diseases directly linked to tobacco use are often seen and treated by ENT physicians. The mucus membranes that line the entire upper respiratory tract from the nose and mouth to the lungs are frequently affected by tobacco and alcohol. Head and neck cancers of many types are directly linked to these two compounds; with a higher incidence of disease seen in those people who use both.

Tobacco Dangers
Smokers and smokeless tobacco users often delay seeing a physician due to the common chronic smoker's cough and lack of pain associated with early oral or throat cancers. Oral cavity (lips, tongue, palate, tonsils), nasal, nasopharynx, and larynx mucous membranes have daily repeated contact with the carcinogens and chemical irritants contained within these products. Poor oral hygiene and dehydration often seen with heavy tobacco or alcohol use prevents proper healing of even benign mucous membrane lesions in these areas of the body. Often, ENT physicians first see these patients due to severe pain or bleeding from large, invasive cancers of the head and neck. These patients, due to late diagnosis, are then faced with extensive surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation, and have a reduced chance for cure. 
It is crucial that people with a positive family history (grandparents, parents, or siblings) with cancer of the head and neck area have prompt evaluation of any open sores, ulcers, lumps, and bumps that occur in these areas not responsive to medication (topical or oral antibiotics) to rule out cancer.

Cessation Aids and Programs
Smokers and smokeless tobacco users currently have treatment options available for cessation. Many tobacco cessation programs are now covered by state funded or other insurance programs. These companies know the tremendous cost of paying for treatment of the many endstage diseases linked to tobacco products. Medications (Chantix, transdermal patches, and chewing gums) are now available or being developed that can help the patient who desires to quit tobacco use. Smokeless tobacco users can obtain various herbal tobacco substitution products ( Mint Snuff ). Some of these herbal chew, snuff, and pouches provide the same hand-to-mouth habitual activities which are difficult to break in addicted patients. These products, according to some of our patients who have tried them, also provide the "zing" or "tingle" sensation that chew and snuff users crave.

Finally, medical acupuncture has a proven track record in assisting people from breaking free from addiction to tobacco products. Tobacco cessation in an outpatient setting using medical acupuncture techniques is usually effective within the first two months (4-6 treatment sessions)
 if the patient sincerely wants to quit. Dr. Sciacca is a board certified medical acupuncturist certified by the American Board of Medical Acupuncture. If you, any family members, or friends are interested in smoking or smokeless tobacco cessation please contact our office for an appointment.

For more information about smokeless tobacco cessation products

For more information about smokeless tobacco cessation

For more information about tobacco cessation programs

For information about Alabama smoking cessation programs
 

4501 Southlake Pkwy
Suite #200
Hoover, AL 35244