I started vaping to stop smoking, believing that it is the way to go. Now I hear that it can trigger mouth cancer. Should I stop this too?
Katie J., Bloomington, Ind.
Bravo for working to stop smoking. That’s the No. 1 thing you can do to improve your future health. We think the best approach is based on the remarkable program offered at Dr. Mike’s Cleveland Clinic. It combines the use of patches and pills, medical counseling and social/group support.
Google “Cleveland Clinic Smoking” for great tips on quitting, and you can find support groups to join at local hospitals in your area. Also, it’s helpful to adopt a daily physical activity routine because that eases cravings.
We wish you success, but remember that if you try and fail, don’t be discouraged. Try again and again. It takes an average of six attempts to succeed. Keep trying, and you will succeed!
Now, as for vaping, there are two new studies that show how damaging e-cigarettes can be to oral tissue. Canadian researchers did a lab study that looked at the effect of 15 minutes a day of exposure to e-cig vapors on cells that line your mouth.
They saw the cells dying at a much greater rate than normal: Usually it’s around 2 percent in unexposed cell cultures; it hit 53 percent after three days of exposure to the vapors from e-cigs. Kill off these cells, and you’re more vulnerable to everything from infection to gum disease and perhaps cancers.
Another study, from the University of Rochester, found that e-cigs are just as damaging to gum tissue as tobacco cigarettes. The lead researcher said: “When the vapors from an e-cigarette are burned, it causes cells to release inflammatory proteins, which in turn aggravate stress within cells, resulting in damage that could lead to various oral diseases.”
We hope you can give up e-cigs and opt for an effective stop-smoking program that improves your health instead of damaging it.
I think my daughter is depressed, and I want her to talk to a counselor, but I’m afraid she’ll just go off. She’s 14 and has built this wall between herself and the rest of the family. How should I approach her?
Jennifer W., Seattle
Teens can throw up walls when they’re confused or are experiencing emotional pain. It’s not uncommon. But that doesn’t mean you should just say, “It’s a stage” or “She’ll get over it.”
Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to take down the walls and help her regain enjoyment of everyday life.
According to analysts from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, who looked at the National Surveys on Drug Use and Health, the incidence of adolescent depression grew by 37 percent, and teen suicide rates, particularly among young girls ages 10-14, tripled in the past 15 years.
But many parents (and doctors) don’t know the signs or what to do about it.
Signs and symptoms: If your daughter has lost interest or pleasure in daily activities that she once enjoyed, is having insomnia or sleeping too much, binge eating and then not eating, she could fit the criteria for a major depressive episode. Plummeting grades and possible substance abuse also are signs.
As for signs of suicidal thoughts or behavior, they include uttering phrases like “You’ll be better off when I’m gone” and “I hate my life.” Checking her social-media accounts may provide clues. Also, search online for “YouTube Mayo Clinic teen-suicide prevention” to watch a very informative video.
Take action: Call your daughter’s primary-care physician for referrals and advice, talk to a school counselor and arrange for a meeting with a therapist and/or psychiatrist so that you can discuss starting treatment for her and whether medication is needed. Then set aside time to talk each day; listen -- do not judge. You will find that these approaches can help her enormously.
Dr. Mehmet Oz is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Dr. Mike Roizen is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To submit questions, write to Drs. Oz and Roizen, 300 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019-5238, or visit sharecare.com. Their column appears Monday.