Massachusetts Dental Society Applauds Passage of Tobacco Control Legislation
In response, Massachusetts Dental Society (MDS) President Janis Moriarty, DMD, issued the following statement:
"Reducing tobacco use is a priority issue for the MDS due to the oral health complications caused by smoking and tobacco products. In addition to heart disease, lung disease, and other health problems, tobacco use has been associated with serious oral health impacts, including oral cancer and gum disease.
E-cigarettes also can be harmful to oral health. Vaping sweet e-cigarettes, including popular mint varieties, can increase the risk of dental cavities. Additionally, the nicotine in e-cigarettes reduces blood flow, restricting the supply of nutrients and oxygen to the soft tissues of the mouth, which can cause the gums to recede and exacerbate periodontal diseases.
Banning all flavored tobacco products and taxing e-cigarettes will have a significant impact in the fight to make sure that young people grow up without the burden of tobacco and nicotine addiction. Flavors have undoubtedly made it easier for kids to start using tobacco products and e-cigarettes. At least 80% of Massachusetts high school youth who are current tobacco users reported using a flavored tobacco product. Mint, wintergreen, and menthol are among the most popular e-cigarette flavors among youth. Menthol has the additional quality of soothing the irritation of combustible cigarettes, which is why so many young people start smoking using menthol cigarettes. And, according to the Food and Drug Administration, it is likely that menthol cigarettes pose a public health risk above that seen with nonmenthol cigarettes due to their association with increased nicotine dependence and reduced success in smoking cessation.
The MDS applauds the Massachusetts Legislature for taking this important action to protect youth—and all Massachusetts residents—from tobacco and nicotine addiction and its detrimental impact on oral and overall health."
To learn more about the impact of tobacco and vaping on oral health, visit massdental.org/vaping.