Smokeless Tobacco Is Not a Safer Alternative.
Smokeless tobacco products have taken a backseat to smoking for decades, but are recently gaining ground in overall usage and use among young people. Smokeless tobacco includes chew, spit, dip, snuff, snus and a host of new dissolvable products. They are simply not a safe alternative to smoking and they can be as addictive as, or more addictive, than cigarettes. Smokeless tobacco causes many significant health problems, including several types of cancer.1 Smokeless users have an 80 percent higher risk of oral cancer and a 60 percent higher risk of pancreatic and esophageal cancer.2 Smokeless tobacco products can also increase the risk of a fatal heart attack and stroke.
In addition, there is no scientific evidence that using smokeless tobacco products can help a person quit smoking.3 Using smokeless tobacco can lead to nicotine addiction and dependence.4 For example, the amount of nicotine absorbed from a dip of moist snuff tobacco is three to four times the amount delivered by a cigarette. Even though nicotine is absorbed more slowly from chew tobacco than from cigarettes, chew tobacco users absorb more nicotine per dose and it stays in the bloodstream for a longer time.5
New to the market are a wide variety of smokeless tobacco products, many of which come in different flavors and are typically more affordable than cigarettes. As the number of smoking bans continue to increase nationwide, these products are being marketed to both smokers and non-smokers. As a result, many smokers are simultaneously using smokeless tobacco products. This dual use of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco is especially concerning because it can add to the many health risks already presented by smoking.6
1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smokeless Tobacco Facts. n.d. Web. 20 August 2011.
22008 study from the World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer.
3The Clinical Practice Guideline Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence 2008 Update Panel, Liaisons, and Staff. A clinical practice guideline for treating tobacco use and dependence: 2008 update. A U.S. Public Health Service report. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2008; 35(2):158–176. [PubMed Abstract]
4Cancer Prevention & Early Detection Facts and Figures 2010
5National Cancer Institute. Smokeless Tobacco and Cancer: Questions and Answers. Web.
6Many smokers are simultaneously consuming smokeless tobacco products. This dual use of differing tobacco products is especially concerning. According to the CDC the use of smokeless products while continuing to smoke can add to the enormous health risks already presented by smoking.
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