05 February 2010

Are smokeless tobacco products better than smoking?

No. The risk of lung cancer is less, but smokeless tobacco is still associated with many serious health problems. The amount of nicotine absorbed from smokeless tobacco products i.e. chewing tobacco and snuff is usually more than that from a cigarette. Overall, you receive about the same amount of nicotine as regular smokers. The most harmful cancer-causing substances in smokeless tobacco are tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs), which have been found at levels 100 times higher than the nitrosamines permitted in certain foods like beer and bacon.

The juice from smokeless tobacco products is absorbed directly through the lining of the mouth, which causes sores and white patches that often lead to oral cancer. Smokeless tobacco users also greatly increase their risk of other cancers including those of the throat, voice box and oesophagus. Other effects of smokeless tobacco use include chronic bad breath, stained teeth, gum disease, tooth decay, tooth loss, tooth abrasion and loss of bone in the jaw. Users may also have problems with high blood pressure and increased risk for heart disease.

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