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Oral Health Topics

Tobacco Use and Cessation

Key Points

  • Use of tobacco is one of the leading causes of preventable illness in the U.S.; smoking accounts for approximately 20% of deaths.  
  • When tobacco is smoked, nicotine rapidly reaches peak levels in the bloodstream and enters the brain; if the smoke is not directly inhaled into the lungs, nicotine is absorbed through mucous membranes and reaches peak blood levels and the brain more slowly.
  • Although cigarettes are the most commonly used form of tobacco, other recreational tobacco formulations include conventional smokeless tobacco; compressed dissolvable tobacco; cigars; tobacco pipes and water pipes (i.e., hookahs); and electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes).
  • The 2008 U.S. Public Health Service clinical practice guideline for treating tobacco use and dependence found that counseling and medication are effective when used by themselves for treating tobacco dependence; however, the combination of counseling plus medication was more effective than either method alone.
  • Because of the oral health implications of tobacco use, dental practices may provide a uniquely effective setting for tobacco use recognition, prevention, and cessation; dental professionals can help smokers quit by consistently identifying patients who smoke, advising them to quit, and offering them information about cessation treatment.

2019 Statement from ADA President on Vaping:

Read the Statement

  • Introduction
  • Nicotine: Use and Dependence
  • Nicotine Delivery Systems, Including E-Cigarettes
  • Tobacco Cessation Methods
  • Dental Considerations
  • ADA Seal of Acceptance
  • ADA Policy on Tobacco and E-Cigarettes/Vaping
  • References
  • ADA Resources
  • Other Resources
Topic last updated: August 24, 2021

Prepared by:

Department of Scientific Information, Evidence Synthesis & Translation Research, ADA Science & Research Institute, LLC.


Content on the Oral Health Topics section of is for informational purposes only.  Content is neither intended to nor does it establish a standard of care or the official policy or position of the ADA; and is not a substitute for professional judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  ADA is not responsible for information on external websites linked to this website.