- Smokeless Tobacco and Health Risks
- Smokeless tobacco around the world
- Are you ready to quit smokeless tobacco?
- Quitting smokeless tobacco
- Symptoms of withdrawal from smokeless tobacco
- Resources for Quitting
- Life After Tobacco
- Health Risks of E-cigarettes, Smokeless Tobacco, and Waterpipes
- E-cigarettes or «vaping»
- Smokeless tobacco
- Dangers of smokeless tobacco products
- Potential health risks
- Related Resources
- More Information
- Chewing Tobacco Health Effects (Cancer Facts, How to Quit)
- What is chewing tobacco?
- What are the health risks of chewing tobacco?
- Other health risks of chewing tobacco
- Is chewing tobacco safer than cigarette smoking?
- What is being done to reduce the use of chewing tobacco?
- What treatments are available to help people quit using chewing tobacco?
- Health Risks of Smokeless Tobacco
- Types of smokeless tobacco
- Chewing, oral, or spit tobacco
- Snuff or dipping tobacco
- Dissolvable tobacco
- Heated tobacco products
- What are the health risks of smokeless tobacco?
- Smokeless tobacco causes cancer
- Mouth and tooth problems
- Other health problems
- Can smokeless tobacco be used to help quit smoking?
Smokeless Tobacco and Health Risks
Smokeless tobacco products are known by many names, including: dip, chew, spit, oral and spitless tobacco, and dry and moist snuff (snus). Smokeless tobacco is not a safe alternative to cigarettes.
The facts about smokeless tobacco:
- It is just as addictive as cigarette smoking.
- One can of snuff contains the same amount of nicotine as 4 packs of cigarettes.
- Dipping 8 to 10 times a day introduces as much nicotine into the body as smoking 30-40 cigarettes.
- The amount of nicotine in the bloodstream after using smokeless tobacco may be higher than that of a cigarette smoker because nicotine is easily and quickly absorbed through the lining of the mouth.
- Nicotine stays in the bloodstream longer with smokeless tobacco than with cigarettes.
Oral tobacco contains at least 28 chemicals known to cause cancer (carcinogens). The most harmful of these are tobacco-specific nitrosamines, which are known to cause lung cancer. The juice from smokeless tobacco causes sores and white patches (called leukoplakia) in the mouth that can lead to cancer.
People who use smokeless tobacco have a higher risk of cancers of the mouth, throat (pharynx), esophagus (swallowing tube from the throat to the stomach), stomach, and pancreas. Other effects of using spit tobacco include chronic bad breath, stained teeth and fillings, gum disease, tooth decay, and loss, and break-down of bone in the jaw.
Studies show that users of smokeless tobacco also have an increased risk of heart disease, heart attacks, and stroke.
Smokeless tobacco products are not a safe alternative to smoking. Studies have shown that those who switch from cigarette smoking to chewing tobacco were more than 2.5 times as ly to develop cancer of the mouth or throat compared to those who quit smoking altogether. Those who switch from cigarette smoking to chewing tobacco are 5-6 times more ly to develop cancer than non-smokers.
Learn more about the dangers of smokeless tobacco from the Oral Cancer Foundation, the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society.
Smokeless tobacco around the world
The types of cancer caused by smokeless tobacco varies around the world. This is because the type of tobacco product used and what is mixed with it varies.
For example, in Middle Eastern countries (India and Sudan), many chewing tobacco are prepared with betel quid or areca nut, which are both known to be carcinogens. As a result, there is a higher risk of cancers of the mouth and throat in this area of the world.
Studies in Asia and Africa have shown a higher risk of mouth, throat, and esophagus cancer in users of smokeless tobacco. Nordic and Northern European countries have a higher risk of esophagus and pancreas cancers due to the use of smokeless tobacco.
In Sweden and Norway, snus, which a type of moist snuff made with air-cured tobacco, water, salt and flavorings, is the most common form of smokeless tobacco. Snus may have lower levels of carcinogens than other types of snuff but is still linked to cancer.
Are you ready to quit smokeless tobacco?
Are you thinking you might be ready to quit smokeless tobacco? Great- that is the first step to success! What are your personal motivations to quit? Write them down and refer to them when things get tough.
Quitting is not easy, but you are not alone- many people want to quit, and many are successful. Surveys show that most people who use snuff or chew would to quit.
Find a community (there are a few online resources just for smokeless tobacco) or a buddy that has been successful to be your support person to call when needed.
There are several reasons why quitting is important. First and most importantly, quitting will improve your health and lower your chances of developing a tobacco-related cancer or heart disease. Your risk of these diseases decreases the longer you don’t use smokeless tobacco.
A tobacco habit is costly, and by quitting you will have extra money to put towards other things. Mouth sores will heal soon after quitting, and you will be rid of bad breath and stained teeth. The stains from tobacco juice on your clothes and in your car will be a thing of the past.
Additionally, you will be setting a good example for those around you, especially if you have children in your life.
Quitting smokeless tobacco
Quitting smokeless tobacco is quitting any addiction. Nicotine is a highly addictive substance and quitting involves dealing with the physical, mental, and emotional parts of this addiction.
Talk with your healthcare provider for suggestions and support while you quit. Visit online support sites to learn ways to avoid or deal with common stumbling points.
For smokeless tobacco users, there may be a greater need to find an oral substitute to take the place of the tobacco such as sugarless candy or gum.
Symptoms of withdrawal from smokeless tobacco
Stopping or cutting back on smokeless tobacco use causes symptoms of nicotine withdrawal that are much the ones smokers have when they quit. Withdrawal from nicotine is both physical and mental.
Physically, the body is reacting to the absence of nicotine. Mentally and emotionally, an individual is faced with giving up an addiction, which calls for a major change in behavior.
Both the physical and mental factors must be dealt with to quit and stay successful.
Withdrawal symptoms can happen to those who have used tobacco regularly for a few weeks or longer, and suddenly stop or greatly reduce the amount used. Symptoms usually start within a few hours of the last dip or chew and get worse about 2 to 3 days later when most of the nicotine and its by-products are the body.
The following are withdrawal symptoms that you may experience: dizziness (which may last 1 or 2 days after quitting), depression, feelings of frustration, impatience, and anger, anxiety, irritability, trouble sleeping (including trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, and having bad dreams or even nightmares), trouble concentrating, restlessness, headaches, tiredness and increased appetite.
Withdrawal symptoms can last for a few days to up to several weeks.
These uncomfortable feelings can lead you to start using tobacco again, but remember: They will get better every day that you stay tobacco-free! Nicotine replacement products and other medications can help you get through withdrawal symptoms. There are wonderful resources available online and in your community — learn more from the resources for quitting below.
Resources for Quitting
Whether you're a smoker or someone who uses smokeless tobacco, to have the best chance of quitting and being successful, you need to know what you're up against, what your options are, and where to go for help. Below are some resources that will help you:
Smoking cessation. Where do I start?
Start here for help in creating a quit plan, tips to coping with common obstacles and resources for support and smoking cessation programs.
There are several websites specifically for smokeless tobacco users. These include:
Life After Tobacco
Unfortunately, quitting tobacco cannot completely erase the damage done by months or years of use. You should always be honest with healthcare providers about your history of tobacco use and be aware of the risks associated with this history.
As recommended by the American Cancer Society, you should tell your healthcare provider about any of the following symptoms:
- Any change in a cough (for example, you cough up more phlegm or mucus than usual).
- A new cough.
- Coughing up blood.
- Hoarseness (scratchy or weak voice).
- Trouble breathing.
- Chest pain.
- Loss of appetite.
- Weight loss.
- Feeling tired all the time (fatigue).
- Frequent lung or respiratory infections ( pneumonia or bronchitis).
- Development of sores, red areas, or white patches in your mouth.
Smokeless tobacco use is harmful to your health. Ask your provider for help in quitting smokeless tobacco to help improve your health.
Health Risks of E-cigarettes, Smokeless Tobacco, and Waterpipes
Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of disease and early death in the United States. Even though cigarette smoking has slowly declined in the United States, many alternatives have gained popularity.
Examples of alternative tobacco and nicotine delivery products include:
- E-cigarettes or «vaping»
- Smokeless tobacco
These come in various forms, sizes, and flavors.
Alternative tobacco products contain harmful chemicals and toxins that have health risks. The chemicals and toxins may cause serious health problems, including cancer. In 2019, an outbreak is occurring in the United States of a very serious lung disease associated with the use of vaping devices.
The specific cause of this outbreak has yet to be determined; it is unclear whether the outbreak is caused by e-fluids that contain nicotine or THC and whether the harmful products were purchased “off the street” or in retail outlets.
Until more is known, all individuals of any age are strongly advised to refrain from the use of any vaping devices.
If you smoke or use these products, talk with your doctor. Ask about ways to quit.
E-cigarettes or «vaping»
Electronic cigarettes are also known as e-cigarettes, e-cigs, vape pens, or vapor cigarettes. These devices may look traditional cigarettes, pens, or USB flash drives. They can be battery operated or rechargeable.
E-cigarettes do not burn tobacco. Instead, they have cartridges filled with a liquid that may contain flavorants, nicotine, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), or cannabinoid (CBD) oils and other chemicals. The e-cigarette heats the liquid chemicals into a vapor or steam that a person inhales, which is why using these is often called «vaping.»
While the types and concentrations of toxins vary by brand and device, all e-cigarettes contain harmful substances. They have only been readily available in the United States since 2006.
As a result, there is limited research on their long-term health risks. Because of the risks, the U.S.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took initial steps towards regulating these products in 2016, though there is still limited regulation of the contents of the e-liquids and the devices.
As of September 2019, there have been more than 800 cases of a severe lung disease, including 12 deaths, in the United States.
All the affected patients reported previous use of vaping devices, but there is no confirmed link with a specific vaping device or e-liquid. The U.S.
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports so far indicate that most patients with this lung disease reported using products containing THC, but many also reported using nicotine. Some patients reported just using nicotine-containing e-cigarettes.
Since no single product or substance has yet been linked to the disease, the CDC and the FDA are recommending that people stop using these products. If you continue to use e-cigarettes, the CDC recommends that you do not modify cartridges or purchase them off the street and that you monitor your health.
If you develop any symptoms of this lung disease, including coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue, and abdominal pain, talk with your doctor immediately. To learn more about this lung disease and its symptoms, visit the website of the CDC. (Please note that this link takes you to a U.S. government website.)
Many people may turn to e-cigarettes as a way to try to stop smoking, and there is evidence that they can be effective for smoking cessation. Even so, e-cigarettes would never be considered the first choice for smoking cessation because of the risks and given the extent of the current outbreak of severe lung disease, e-cigarettes should be avoided at the present time.
The FDA has not approved e-cigarettes as a way to quit smoking. Doctors and the FDA recommend evidence-based methods for quitting smoking.
If you have used e-cigarettes to stop smoking, do not return to smoking cigarettes instead of using e-cigarettes.
Instead, turn to safe ways to deliver nicotine such as nicotine patches, gum, lozenges, and nasal spray. Learn more about ways to quit smoking and using tobacco.
Smokeless tobacco products contain tobacco or tobacco blends. They have many names. And they fall into several categories.
Chewing tobacco. This is tobacco in the following forms:
- Loose leaves
- Leaves pressed together, commonly called a plug
- Leaves twisted together to resemble a rope, commonly called a twist
Chewing tobacco sits between the cheek and gum. Usually, the person spits out the tobacco juices. But long-time users may swallow some of the juices.
Snuff. This is finely ground tobacco. It comes in dry or moist forms. It is sometimes packaged in ready-to-use pouches.
People usually sniff or swallow dry snuff. In contrast, people place moist snuff between the gum and lip or cheek. Then, it slowly absorbs.
Snus. This is a tobacco product that originated in Sweden. Typically, manufacturers package the moist tobacco powder in a pouch. People place it inside the cheek for absorption. They do not swallow the pouch. It must be thrown away after use.
Tobacco companies often market snus to people who smoke cigarettes because it is allowed in smoke-free areas. But public health advocates worry that snus does not help efforts to reduce tobacco use.
Dissolvable tobacco. This is compressed powdered tobacco. It resembles a small, hard candy that dissolves in the mouth.
Dangers of smokeless tobacco products
Prolonged use of smokeless tobacco products contributes to serious health issues. These include cancer and heart disease.
Some smokeless tobacco products contain 3 to 4 times more nicotine than cigarettes. And these products contain substances that increase risk of oral and oropharyngeal cancer.
Chewing tobacco may cause white patches, called leukoplakia. They appear on the gums, tongue, or lining of the mouth. Most of these are noncancerous, but some show early signs of cancer. Oral cancer often occurs near patches of leukoplakia.
Smokeless tobacco products also cause dental problems and contribute to gum disease and tooth decay.
Many people claim that these products are less harmful than smoking and can help people stop smoking. But these alternatives are not evidence-based methods. The FDA has not approved smokeless tobacco products for quitting smoking.
Another popular alternative tobacco product is the waterpipe. Some people call them hookahs, among other names. Worldwide, people have smoked them for centuries. Particularly in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.
Modern-day waterpipes are composed of 4 main parts:
- A small bowl on top of the waterpipe. This holds a mixture of shredded tobacco and sweetener
- A broad base to hold water
- A pipe connecting the bowl to the base
- A rubber hose attached to a mouthpiece. People pull the smoke from the mouthpiece.
Vendors sell small packets of the tobacco mixture in various flavors.
Sometimes, people smoke waterpipes alone. But they are often used in social settings. And multiple people commonly share the same mouthpiece.
In the United States, waterpipes are especially popular among college students and young people. Unfounded assumptions about their relative safety fuel the trend. People think that water filters tobacco smoke, making it less harmful. But there is no proof of this.
Potential health risks
Waterpipes carry these potential health risks:
Exposure to the same toxins as cigarettes but in higher quantities. Waterpipe smoke contains high levels of many toxic compounds found in cigarettes. These include carbon monoxide, heavy metals, and chemicals linked to cancer.
Cancers associated with the toxins and chemicals are:
- Lung cancer
- Stomach cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Esophageal cancer
Other conditions associated with the toxins and chemicals include:
- Heart disease
- Respiratory diseases emphysema, which causes difficulty breathing
Typically, waterpipe smoking sessions last up to 1 hour. This exposes people to higher toxin levels than cigarettes.
Potential to spread infectious disease. Sharing a waterpipe with other people increases the risk of transferring diseases and viruses. Especially if people do not clean the mouthpieces properly.
Nicotine addiction. The tobacco in waterpipes and cigarettes contains similar levels of nicotine. And nicotine is highly addictive.
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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: E-Cigarettes
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Smokeless Tobacco Fact Sheets
FDA: Tobacco Products
Smokefree.gov: What We Know About Electronic Cigarettes
World Health Organization: Waterpipe Tobacco Smoking
Chewing Tobacco Health Effects (Cancer Facts, How to Quit)
Chewing tobacco contains nicotine and many known cancer-causing substances.
What is chewing tobacco?
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Chewing tobacco is sometimes known as smokeless tobacco or spitting tobacco. It is available in two forms, snuff and chewing tobacco. Both types of chewing tobacco are held in the mouth inside the cheek or between the cheek and gum.
Snuff and chewing tobacco are commonly available in tins or pouches; popular brand names include Skoal and Copenhagen. Snus (pronounced «snoose») is a finely ground form of snuff that originated in Norway and Sweden that comes in small tins.
The amount of snuff placed in the mouth is referred to as a pinch, dip, lipper, or quid. A portion of chewing tobacco is referred to as a plug, wad, or chew.
Chewing tobacco is known to contain at least 28 cancer-causing chemicals, medically known as carcinogens. The main carcinogens in chewing tobacco are the tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs). Some of the other cancer-causing agents found in chewing tobacco are formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, arsenic, benzopyrene, nickel, and cadmium.
Many people mistakenly believe that snus is a safe form of chewing tobacco because it is steam-heated rather than fermented when produced in Norway or Sweden, causing it to have fewer nitrosamines. However, snus still contains a number of cancer-causing chemicals.
Snus made in America is not necessarily processed in the same way as in Norway or Sweden.
Nicotine is also found in snuff and chewing tobacco, all tobacco products. Although nicotine is absorbed more slowly from chewing tobacco than from cigarettes, 3 to 4 times more nicotine is absorbed from chewing tobacco than from a cigarette, and the nicotine from chewing tobacco remains longer in the bloodstream. Nicotine is the substance responsible for tobacco addiction.
Chewing tobacco is not the same thing as chewing cigarettes. Chewing cigarettes (also termed e-cigarettes) are designed to provide nicotine in vapor to the user without burning tobacco. However, the smokeless cigarettes still provide addictive nicotine to the user and secondhand nicotine to others.
It's the world's leading cause of death, but about 1 in 3 cases can be prevented, according to the World Health Organization. There's no magic pill to keep you from getting cancer, but you can do some things to improve your odds.
- Lose excess weight.
- Eat less red meat.
- Wear sunscreen.
- Eat more vegetables.
- Cut down on sugar.
- Quit using tobacco.
Find other tips to lower your risk of cancer »
What are the health risks of chewing tobacco?
A number of significant health risks are associated with the use of chewing tobacco.
Other health risks of chewing tobacco
Those who use chewing tobacco have an increased risk of:
- developing gum diseases and gum recession (pulling away of the gum tissue from the teeth);
- leukoplakia (whitish patches inside the mouth that can become cancerous);
- abrasion (wearing down) of teeth;
- staining of teeth;
- tooth decay; and
- tooth loss.
All of the above have been linked to chewing tobacco use.
Some studies have shown a link between an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (including heart attacks and stroke) in users of snuff and chewing tobacco, although these risks are not as great as those observed in smokers. Further research is needed to determine whether or not chewing tobacco use presents a significant risk of heart disease and stroke.
25 Effects of Smoking on Your Looks and Life See Slideshow
Is chewing tobacco safer than cigarette smoking?
Chewing tobacco has been widely marketed as a way for cigarette smokers to use tobacco in smoke-free areas, so it is safer for other people because they are not exposed to secondhand smoke. However, in 1986, a statement from the U.S.
Surgeon General concluded that users of chewing tobacco should know that chewing tobacco «is not a safe substitute for smoking cigarettes.» Chewing tobacco contains nicotine, which is highly addictive, as well as a number of known cancer-causing chemicals.
Any form of tobacco use poses an increased risk of developing cancer, and no level is considered safe.
While the risks of getting cancer from chewing tobacco are lower than those associated with smoking cigarettes, the health risks of chewing tobacco are very real and potentially fatal. Chewing tobacco use also has not been shown to be helpful for smokers who want to quit smoking.
What is being done to reduce the use of chewing tobacco?
Parents are encouraged by health care professionals, school authorities, and public health officials to include the topic of chewing tobacco use when they discuss the hazards of any tobacco use with their children, especially teenaged children. It is better never to start than try to stop the addictive tobacco (nicotine) habit in any form.
Legislation has been enacted to help reduce the number of people who use tobacco products and reduce adverse health risks associated with tobacco use.
The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009 gives the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the power to regulate tobacco products in the U.S.
, which will allow for increased regulation of marketing and advertising of tobacco products, including chewing tobacco.
In 2015, San Francisco became the first U.S. city to ban the use of smokeless tobacco at sporting events, including AT&T Park, home of the city's Major League Baseball team, the Giants.
What treatments are available to help people quit using chewing tobacco?
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Chewing tobacco is an addiction that can be overcome. As with cigarette smoking, various support systems, programs, and even prescription medications are available to help people quit using chewing tobacco. Examples of products available used to wean a person from nicotine addiction from chewing tobacco include:
Prescription medicines such as bupropion SR (Zyban and Wellbutrin SR) and varenicline tartrate (Chantix) have been effective in some patients who are trying to quit nicotine.
Medically Reviewed on 12/11/2019
American Cancer Society. Smokeless Tobacco.
American Cancer Society. Smokeless tobacco and how to quit.
Boffeta P, Hecht S, Gray N, Gupta P, Straif K. Smokeless tobacco and Cancer. Lancet Oncol 2008 Jul;9(7):667-75.
eMedicine.com. Smokeless tobacco lesions.
Gupta R, Gurm H, Bartholomew JR. Smokeless tobacco and cardiovascular risk. Arch Intern Med 2004 Sept;164(17):1845-9.
U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI). Smokeless tobacco and cancer, questions and answers.
Health Risks of Smokeless Tobacco
Smokeless tobacco includes products such as chewing (spit) tobacco, moist snuff, snus (a “spitless,” moist powder tobacco, often in a pouch), and other tobacco-containing products that are not smoked.
Some smokeless tobacco products might expose people to lower levels of harmful chemicals than tobacco smoke, but that doesn’t mean these products are a safe alternative to smoking.
Types of smokeless tobacco
There are many different types of smokeless tobacco products.
Chewing, oral, or spit tobacco
These products come as loose leaves, plugs, or twists of dried tobacco that may be flavored. They are chewed or placed between the cheek and gum or teeth. The nicotine in the tobacco is absorbed through the mouth tissues. The user then spits out (or swallows) the tobacco 'juices.'
Snuff or dipping tobacco
Snuff is finely ground tobacco packaged in cans or pouches. It’s sold as dry or moist and may have flavorings added.
Moist snuff is used by putting it between the lower lip or cheek and gum. The nicotine in the snuff is absorbed through the tissues of the mouth. Moist snuff also comes in small, teabag- pouches that can be placed between the cheek and gum. These are designed to be both “smoke-free” and “spit-free” and are marketed as a discreet way to use tobacco.
Dry snuff is sold in a powdered form and is used by sniffing or inhaling the powder up the nose.
Snus (sounds “snoose”) is a type of moist snuff. It was first used in Sweden and Norway, but it's now available in the United States as well. It’s packaged in small pouches, which are held between the gum and mouth tissues. spit-free snuff, the juices are swallowed.
Dissolvable forms of smokeless tobacco come in different shapes and sizes, such as tobacco lozenges, orbs, pellets, thin strips ( melt-away breath strips), and toothpick-sized sticks.
Some of these also contain sweeteners or flavoring and look a lot candy. All have tobacco and nicotine. Depending on the type, they are held in the mouth, chewed, or sucked until they dissolve.
The juices are swallowed.
Heated tobacco products
Heated tobacco products (sometimes called “heat-not-burn” products) typically use an electronic heating element, which heats specially-designed sticks, plugs, or capsules containing tobacco. The heat releases nicotine (and other chemicals) that can then be inhaled into the lungs, but the tobacco doesn’t get hot enough to burn. These devices are not the same as e-cigarettes.
What are the health risks of smokeless tobacco?
Using any kind of smokeless tobacco can expose you to health risks. These products contain cancer-causing chemicals, as well as addictive nicotine.
Some smokeless tobacco products may expose users to lower levels of harmful chemicals than cigarette smoke, but this doesn’t mean they are safe.
No form of smokeless tobacco is a safe substitute for cigarettes. Still, tobacco companies often market these products as alternatives to smoking in places where smoking isn’t allowed.
Smokeless tobacco causes cancer
Overall, people who dip or chew get about the same amount of nicotine as people who smoke regularly. They are also exposed to more than 25 chemicals that are known to cause cancer. The most harmful cancer-causing substances in smokeless tobacco are tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs). TSNA levels vary by product, but the higher the level the greater the cancer risk.
Cancers linked to the use of smokeless tobacco include:
The risk of cancer with newer types of smokeless tobacco products isn’t quite as clear, mainly because they haven’t been studied as well as chewing tobacco and snuff. They still contain potentially harmful chemicals that might increase a person’s risk of cancer, although the amounts can vary by product.
Mouth and tooth problems
Many studies have shown high rates of leukoplakia in the mouth where users place their chew or dip. Leukoplakia is a gray-white patch in the mouth that can become cancer. These patches can’t be scraped off.
They’re sometimes called sores but are usually painless. The longer a person uses oral tobacco, the more ly they are to have leukoplakia.
Stopping tobacco might help clear up the spot, but treatment may be needed if there are signs of early cancer.
Tobacco stains teeth and causes bad breath. It can also irritate or destroy gum tissue.
Many regular smokeless tobacco users have receding or swollen gums, tooth decay and cavities (from the high sugar content in the tobacco), scratching and wearing down (abrasion) of teeth, and bone loss around the teeth. The surface of the tooth root may be exposed where gums have shrunken. All of these can cause teeth to loosen and fall out.
Other health problems
Other harmful health effects of smokeless tobacco include:
- Increased risk of dying from heart disease and stroke
- Increased risk of early delivery and stillbirth when used during pregnancy
Smokeless tobacco can lead to nicotine poisoning and even death in children who mistake it for candy.
All smokeless tobacco contains nicotine, which can lead to addiction. In teens, using nicotine can also harm the parts of the brain that control attention, learning, mood, and impulse control. It may also increase the risk for future addiction to other drugs.
Dissolvable tobacco is of special concern because at this time little is known about the health effects of these products. Still, it’s clear that they are another way for people, especially youth, to experiment with tobacco products and become addicted to nicotine. Because they are so tempting, they can easily poison children and pets.
Can smokeless tobacco be used to help quit smoking?
Manufacturers often imply or even claim that spit or smokeless tobacco can help people quit smoking. A lot of people believe and try this. But no smokeless tobacco product has been proven to help people quit smoking.
Un US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved standard treatments that have been proven to work (such as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) and certain drugs), oral tobacco products have not been tested thoroughly to see if they can help a person stop smoking. And research to date has not shown that they really help a person quit.
Even if using smokeless tobacco helps some people give up smoking, it still can cause cancer and other health problems, so it's not a safe alternative. And because it still contains nicotine, it’s also addictive and hard to quit.
For more, see How to Quit Using Tobacco.