Smoking related hospital admissions have increased despite a fall in the number of smokers, new research reveals.

More than 1.6 million people were admitted to hospital due to smoking, with cancer accounting for more than one in ten (11 per cent) of these.

The statistics, released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), also reveal the number of young adults smoking (23 per cent) is higher than the number of adults who smoke (20 per cent).

Smoking can cause a variety of oral health problems including tooth staining, dental plaque, bad breath, tooth loss and gum disease. Of more concern is the significant risk of developing life-threatening diseases such as lung disease and mouth cancer.

Mouth cancer now affects more than 6,500 people in the UK – that’s 18 people diagnosed with the disease every day. With five year survival rates reliant upon early detection, Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, voiced his concerns over the increase in smoking-related hospital admissions.

Dr Carter said: “We have seen mouth cancer rates soar over the past 10 years by almost 50 per cent, and an increase in hospital admissions due to smoking shows this upward trend may continue for some time.

Cigarette by Tomasz Sienicki via Wikimedia Commons

Cigarette by Tomasz Sienicki via Wikimedia Commons

Smoking and tobacco use is the leading cause of mouth cancer. Even though it is encouraging the see the number of smokers falling, one in five people is still a high percentage. To curb rising mouth cancer figures, this needs to improve. Mouth Cancer Action Month, which takes place throughout November, is a good time for people to get on the road to kicking the habit. We know around two in three smokers actually want to quit, and the campaign offers a perfect opportunity to do this.

We must not forget if you smoke and drink alcohol to excess you are up to 30 times more likely to develop the disease, so it is crucial we continue to educate the public about all of the risks. A poor diet and the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) are also risk factors for mouth cancer.

As a result it is really important that everyone knows the warning signs for mouth cancer. They include ulcers which do not heal within three weeks, red and white patches in the mouth and unusual lumps or swellings in the mouth. Our message to everyone is simple – ‘If in doubt, get checked out’.

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