Why do people start smoking? And if they do start, why do they keep doing it? Especially given all that we now know about the health harms associated with smoking, it’s hard to fathom. But now a new study gives us greater insight into how smokers think about the health harms of smoking, and why that might keep them puffing rather than quitting.

Smokers Think Health Harms Far Off

How Long Does a Person Have to Smoke . . .?

This new study is based on a survey of 172 Italian adults age 18-35 years. The population was composed of 60 smokers and 112 nonsmokers. Both were asked how long it would take for a healthy 18-year-old smoking 10 cigarettes a day to develop certain health conditions.

When asked about developing mild conditions like gum disease, the leading cause of receding gums, smokers thought it would take 5-10 years to develop, while nonsmokers thought these conditions would develop in 1-5 years.

A similar disparity was seen when talking about more serious conditions like emphysema, lung cancer, or heart disease. Smokers thought these would take 30 years or more, while nonsmokers thought they would develop in 20-25 years.

So this is part of the reason why smokers keep smoking: they believe that the health harms from the habit are far off in the future, and, likely, they keep mentally postponing the harms with each year. This allows them to keep smoking.

Focus on the Immediacy of Risks

Researchers note that this insight can help us better target our quitting messages to smokers. We already know that smokers don’t really think about their health when they start smoking. And when they are smoking, they distance themselves from the harms by putting them into the distant future.

To try to overcome this, researchers noted that it might be best to target the message not just that there are these health risks, but also that these risks may be closer than they think. This might help people feel the immediacy of the need to quit.

Are You Experiencing Receding Gums?

Unfortunately, for many people, the only timeframe they appreciate for serious health problems is now. If you didn’t decide to quit smoking until after you had experienced receding gums, don’t despair. You receding gums can be restored to a healthy, youthful position with our gum rejuvenation procedures.

To schedule your consultation about gum rejuvenation in Orange County, please call (949) 551-5902 today for an appointment at Rice Dentistry in Irvine.