The response to The Doctors Health Scare Experiment episode was so strong, The Doctors intervenes in the lives of three more people. Will they decide to change their destructive ways before it's too late?
• Do you know someone who needs a Health Scare Experiment? Tell us here!
Tobacco kills 5 million people every year worldwide. Nearly 50 million Americans are addicted to smoking, and many are looking for a way to kick the habit.
Smoking affects your body in a number of ways, including causing respiratory problems and premature aging, and increasing risk of heart disease, vascular disease, stroke and cancer. You can prevent these conditions and reverse health problems associated with smoking by stopping today.
The Doctors had Tammy, who had been smoking since she was 13, experience a Health Scare Experiment, and the 38-year-old vowed to quit the deadly habit. Jennifer saw the show and thought a Health Scare Experiment could help her mother, Sharon, quit as well. Not only is Sharon's health in jeopardy, but also that of Jennifer's 8-year-old daughter, Brooke, who is stricken with cystic fibrosis.
"[My mom's smoking] is detrimental to my child, and if that means that we have to move or that my mom would have to move, then that's just the way it's going to have to be," Jennifer says. "My greatest fear, if [Sharon] doesn't [quit], is that Brooke is not going to grow up to have children of her own."
Secondhand smoke can cause increased problems for those with cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that causes mucus to become thick and sticky and build up in the lungs and other organs. It can lead to chronic infections, hinder breathing and cause problems with growth, digestion and development.
Resources to Stop Smoking
• Learn about the tools available to help you quit smoking.
• Take the Fagerstrom Test for Nicotine Dependence.
• Are you committed to kicking the habit? Join The Doctors' Health Challenge!
• Watch the QUITPLAN video for the reasons to quit smoking right now.
• Relearn your life without cigarettes with help from www.BecomeAnEX.org
Chewing tobacco contains 28 known carcinogens, has three to four times more nicotine than cigarettes and is highly addictive. The nicotine content in a can of snuff is equivalent to about 80 cigarettes, or four packs. Ninety percent of people with mouth cancer are tobacco users, and about half of those diagnosed with oral cancers will die within five years.
Roland, 44, has been using chewing tobacco for 26 years and has been in no hurry to stop. "I teach health and P.E., and that's the weird part about it," he says. "I chew right when I get up in the morning, on my way to school, during school, at lunch, during my breaks, before dinner, after dinner and a lot of times, right before I go to bed.
"I can't quit because I don't have the willpower," he says.
Roland's wife, Jennifer, is a nurse, and knows the dangers of chewing tobacco. She asks The Doctors to intervene and help her husband quit is habit. "I need your help, Doctors," she says. "I need you to tell him how dangerous this is and how much this is going to hurt him and hurt all of us if he continues."
Risks of Chewing Tobacco
• Cancer of the lips, cheeks, gums, tongue, esophagus, stomach, colon and floor and roof of the mouth
• Periodontal, or gum, disease
• Heart disease
How to Quit Chewing Tobacco
• Try nicotine patches or gum
• Take medication to counter cravings
• Attend individual and group counseling
• Chew on food substitutes such as gum, nuts, seeds and shredded beef jerky to help counter the oral fixation
To help Roland quit his addiction, The Doctors arranged for him to meet with Dr. Keith Heinzerling at the Addiction Medicine and Smoking Cessation Program at UCLA's Department of Family Medicine. Dr. Heinzerling is creating a detailed program specific to Roland's needs.
Everyone likes a nice glow to their skin, but how much is too much when it comes to tanning? Tori, 18, has visited the tanning salon at least once a day for the last two years, and she often doesn't protect her eyes with goggles.
Oncologist Dr. Lawrence Piro explains the dangers of tanning.
Although her aunt Debbie passed away from melanoma six years ago, Tori isn't concerned about the dangerous consequences of her habit. "I know that if I keep tanning the way I do, I probably will get skin cancer in the future," she says. "But I kind of don't really let it bother me."
Studies have shown that the risk for melanoma can increase 75 percent if a person begins tanning in tanning beds before the age of 18.
Tori's family asks The Doctors to step in and help the teenager tame her tanning.