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Physicians And Dentists Fight Against Tobacco

Physicians And Dentists Join Forces To Help Their Patients In The Battle Against Tobacco

Every day, dentists and physicians throughout the world see thousands of patients with tobacco - related diseases, and are concerned about the rising numbers and the serious health effects of tobacco use.

In a joint workshop session at the 12th World Conference on Tobacco or Health in Helsinki, the FDI World Dental Federation and the World Medical Association highlighted the important roles of both physicians and dentists in tobacco control and smoking cessation programmes. The oral health effects of tobacco, in particular, are still largely ignored, ranging from harmless staining of teeth to more severe periodontal disease or even life - threatening oral cancer, which has become a leading cause of death in some South-East Asian countries.

Dr Kati Myllymäki, President of the World Medical Association, said that the detrimental effects of tobacco use on public and individual health call for increased intervention and involvement of health professionals, both on the individual and the public health levels. She emphasised that although health professionals have a responsibility for their patients, they should not forget their own health and role model, and encouraged smoking cessation programmes among physicians and dentists.

According to Dr Örjan Akerberg, a tobacco specialist at the FDI World Dental Federation, tobacco - related diseases show that oral and general health cannot and should not be separated ? they influence each other and have serious impact on the well - being of patients. Both professional world organisations support an interdisciplinary team approach to the complex mechanisms of addiction and tobacco dependence as well in patient care.

It is also a scientific fact that a short, counselling talk to patients who smoke by their doctors, or dentists, about the importance of quitting smoking is one of the most cost-effective methods of reducing smoking in a population.

Doctors and dentists will continue to work internationally for comprehensive and effective tobacco control measures and will increase their collaboration with the World Health Organization, governments and civil society in this respect. They welcome the provisions of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and urge governments to quickly ratify and implement the treaty in order to break the spiral of increasing risks to health and to better the quality of life for all on a global scale.

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