Most people know that smoking can cause serious health problems. But some people believe that smokeless tobacco (tobacco that is chewed or sniffed) is a better alternative to smoking. It has even been said that smokeless tobacco should be used as a way to quit smoking. While this form of tobacco does not give off second hand smoke, it is still a dangerous and addictive substance that can cause serious health problems.
What Is Smokeless Tobacco?
Unlike cigarettes, smokeless tobacco is usually sucked on, chewed or sniffed. According to the Mayo Clinic, the following products are categorized as smokeless tobacco:
- Chewing Tobacco
- Tobacco Plugs
- Tobacco Twists
- Dissolvable Tobacco
These are often held in the mouth, between the gum and cheek. The juices are often spit out (though certain products like snus are removed or dissolved without having to spit.)
The Dangers of Using Smokeless Tobacco
According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, smokeless tobacco contains high levels of carcinogens and is just as likely to cause cancer as smoking. The most common diseases associated with smokeless tobacco are as follows:
- An Increased Risk of Throat or Mouth Cancer
- Bloody Sores That Develop On the Lips or Mouth That Don’t Heal
- White Patches That Form On the Tongue or Cheeks Caused by Tobacco Juice. Known as Leukoplaki, These Patches Can Be A Sign of Cancer.
- Tooth Decay, Tooth Loss and Bad Breath
- Cardiovascular Disease (High Blood Pressure, Stroke, Heart Attack)
The Best Way to Avoid These Tobacco-Related Diseases
Find a way to quit using smokeless tobacco products. One of the best ways to stop using is to get rid of all tobacco products and find a healthy alternative to take its place. Use support groups, family, friends or programs to ensure that you stick with your decision to stay tobacco free.