Brett lives in New Mexico and started smoking at age 16 to impress a girl. He kept it up for 30 years, smoking about a pack a day. By his mid-30s, Brett had gum disease—a danger for all smokers. Because of his gum disease, the tissues and bones holding Brett's teeth in place were breaking down. During each visit, his dentist asked, "Are you still smoking?"
By age 42, Brett had lost most of his teeth, including 16 during one surgery. With his mouth still swollen, Brett continued to smoke. "There I would be, standing outside having a cigarette," he said. "I was still completely addicted and in denial."
Brett has now been smokefree for 4 years. "Life is so much better without smoking," he says. "You're not constantly thinking about your next cigarette."
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- CDC/Office on Smoking and Health
4770 Buford Highway
Atlanta, Georgia 30341-3717