Orthodontists Join with the American Lung Association For the Betterment of Patient Health

Feb 20, 2001, 00:00 ET from The Hughes Group

    ST. LOUIS, Feb. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- With nearly 5,000 young people starting
 the smoking habit every day, joining the 47 million adults who already smoke,
 orthodontists are not going to ignore this important health issue.
     In a pre-emptive strike against smoking and tobacco use among young people
 and adults, the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) with the American
 Lung Association have announced a new national initiative to educate pre-teen,
 teenage and adult orthodontic patients about the dangers and pitfalls of
 smoking and chewing tobacco.
     "Orthodontists are working with the American Lung Association because of
 our concern for our patients' overall health. We are in a unique position to
 influence our patients given the fact that we generally see patients every
 four to six weeks during a formative stage of these young people's lives,"
 said Dr. Michael D. Rennert, president of the AAO. "By preventing patients
 from starting, or by putting current smokers in touch with cessation programs,
 we can help save lives."
     Orthodontists Putting the Bite on Tobacco Use is a new approach in the
 fight to snuff out smoking for the betterment of patients' oral and general
 health. With 2 million adolescents becoming new smokers each year and 80
 percent of orthodontic patients under 18, there is ample opportunity for
 orthodontists to educate and practice preventive medicine.
     But delivering an anti-tobacco message to pre-teens and teen-agers is no
 easy task since most young people can't relate to smoking-related diseases
 like lung cancer, heart disease and emphysema-illnesses which usually strike
     To combat the seemingly distant health implications, the AAO will appeal
 to young people's concern over how others perceive them, using these points:
     --Others will smell smoke on your clothes, hair and breath.
     --Smoking will discolor soon-to-be straight teeth.
     --Second-hand smoke is extremely harmful to those around you.
     --Cigarettes are highly addictive.
     These issues plus the immediate and eventual health implications are the
 reasons that the AAO and the American Lung Association are committed to
 snuffing out smoking for orthodontic patients in the new millennium.
     The AAO is comprised of more than 13,500 members in the United States,
 Canada and abroad. Founded in 1900, the AAO supports research and education
 leading to quality patient care and promotes increased public awareness of the
 need for and benefits of orthodontic treatment. For a free video packed with
 valuable information about orthodontics, call 1-800-STRAIGHT or to learn more
 about orthodontics online, visit the Web site at www.braces.org .
     Orthodontists are uniquely qualified to correct "bad bites." They are
 specialists in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial
 irregularities. The American Dental Association requires orthodontists to have
 at least two years of post-doctoral, advanced specialty training in
 orthodontics in an accredited program, after graduation from dental school.
     For nearly 100 years, the American Lung Association has been fighting lung
 disease with the generous support of the public and volunteers. While they
 have seen many advances against lung disease, they realize that the work is
 not finished. Looking forward to their second century, American Lung will
 continue to strive to make breathing easier for everyone through programs of
 education, community service, advocacy, and research. For more information on
 the American Lung Association, visit the Web site at www.lungusa.org . The
 American Lung Association's activities are supported by donations to Christmas
 Seals(R) and other voluntary contributions.
     CONTACT: Pam Paladin of American Association of Orthodontists,
 314-993-1700, ext. 224; or Elizabeth Niven of Hughes Group, 314-721-3400, ext.

SOURCE The Hughes Group