Smoking and Tobacco

You know that smoking is bad for your health, but did you know that smokeless tobacco causes significant oral health complications? Smokeless tobacco products have been linked to oral cancer, tooth decay, gum disease, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and nicotine addiction. It also causes bad breath and stained teeth.

Tobacco Products

Smokeless tobacco products are often marketed as a healthier alternative to smoking, or even as a way to help quit smoking. Smokeless tobacco is not a healthy alternative to smoking. Staying away from all tobacco products is the only way to avoid increasing your risk of tobacco-related health problems. 

According to the American Dental Association, possible oral health impacts of smoking and all tobacco products include:
  • Stained teeth and tongue
  • Dulled sense of taste and smell
  • Slow healing after a tooth extraction or other surgery
  • Difficulties in correcting cosmetic dental problems
  • Gum disease
  • Oral cancer

Once you start smoking or using tobacco products, the addictive quality of nicotine—found in cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco—can make quitting especially difficult. Talk to your dentist or doctor for resources on quitting tobacco use, or consult the American Cancer Society’s Guide to Quitting Smokeless Tobacco


Breaking the Habit

Massachusetts has made great progress in reducing rates of youth cigarette smoking, but the wave of new addictive tobacco and nicotine products targeted to youths requires us to respond in new ways to protect our young people. The Massachusetts Dental Society supports laws that:

  • Restrict the sale of tobacco products to those over 21 years of age
  • Ban e-cigarettes in places where smoking is already prohibited
  • Ban the sale of tobacco products in health care facilities such as pharmacies


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