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An Introduction to Substance Use Disorders for Dental Professionals

Course Number: 545

Nicotine Use & Addiction

The U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health of 1964 was one of the first public documents linking smoking to increased risk of cardiac and vascular disease. More recent research ties tobacco use to cancers of the mouth, pharynx, esophagus, lung, pancreas, and bladder. Additional health risks include diabetes; respiratory disorders; premature, low birth-weight infants; spontaneous abortions and periodontal disease. Those exposed to secondary smoke from tobacco products are at greater risk for these same conditions (Figure 2).

Image showing the health consequences linked to smoking and secondhand smoke.

Figure 2. The Health Consequences Linked to Smoking and Secondhand Smoke.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2004, 2006.

According to the 2022 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated 63.9 million Americans - aged 12 or older reported current use of tobacco products or nicotine vaping. Specifically, 41.1 million are cigarette smokers, 10.4 million smoke cigars, 6.1 million use smokeless tobacco and 23.5 million vape nicotine. These statistics confirm tobacco is still one of the most widely abused substances in the United States.43,61,60,63