Compared to smokers, users of smokeless tobacco (oral snuff) are exposed to higher amounts of cancer-causing nitrosamines, says a University of Minnesota Cancer Center study.
Users suck on oral snuff by placing it between their cheeks and gums. This study compared 182 oral snuff users with 420 cigarette smokers and found that oral snuff users were exposed to higher levels of 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK).
NNK is known to cause lung cancer in humans as well as cancers of the pancreas, liver and nasal mucosa in laboratory animals.
The study is published in the August issue of the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.
"Smokeless tobacco products have been proposed by some as safer alternatives to cigarettes, but they are not safe. The only likely safe alternative to smoking is the long term use of nicotine replacement therapy as a means to reduce dependence," said study author Stephen Hecht, professor of cancer prevention. – (HealthDayNews, August 2007)
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