Why I gave up nicotine when I was 13

Professor Hutchison is consultant oral & maxillofacial surgeon at Bartholomew’s and The Royal London Hospital and is the founder of the Facial Surgery Research Foundation – Saving Faces – a charity dedicated to the reduction of facial disfigurement and disease.

‘I mainly work treating head and neck cancer and some of these patients suffer severe social problems with eating, speech and even disfigurement. The main causes are smoking, followed by excessive alcohol consumption. I gave up smoking when I was 13 years old and haven’t had a cigarette since although I do love the smell of French cigarettes. I don’t drink very much either and I never have. Recently, Saving Faces has been looking at the deterrent effect of educating young people aged from 11-14 about how smoking and drinking can result in mouth cancer and facial disfigurement. We are now assessing the data but it looks as though kids who speak with surgeons and are shown pictures of patients really do alter their pattern of damaging behaviour. No one wants to end up like some of my patients if they can help it.’

“There isn’t a particular patient who has made me want to stop smoking because I made that decision so early in my life.”

Professor Iain Hutchison
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