Oral cancer is a general term used to describe cancerous tissue located in the lips, gums, mouth floor, cheek linings, tongue, or in the soft or hard palate in the roof of the mouth. In many cases, cancers in these tissues belong to a group of cancers known as squamous cell carcinomas; these carcinomas spread relatively quickly and can produce serious health repercussions far beyond the mouth and its structures. Most people know that smoking and the use of other tobacco products seriously increase risks for the onset of oral cancer. However, a clear majority of people with cancers of the mouth also drink excessive amounts of alcohol.
In what many experts believe is a precursor to smoking, thousands of teens are puffing in flavored smoke at hookah bars across the U.S., an Arab tradition that is becoming a new American adolescent trend. Smoking hookah is feared to be a gateway activity to nicotine addiction, and carries serious health risks due to the amount of smoke inhaled in a session and the harmful substances found in the smoke.
Smoking is a habit that is often begun in the teen years by caving to peer pressure or because it is the accepted protocol in a social network. Often, however, as smoking becomes an established addiction and the individual moves into adulthood, the reasons for smoking can be rooted in factors that affect mental health.