Smokeless tobacco comes in two basic forms: chewing tobacco and snuff. Chewing tobacco is a leafy tobacco sold in pouches and, as the name suggests, is chewed. Snuff is finely ground tobacco that is sold in small tins. Dry snuff can be inhaled, but the more common form is moist snuff which is held between the cheek and gum.
Smokeless tobacco is not a safe alternative to cigarettes.Restrictions on smoking in public places in Canada have led some smokers to use smokeless tobacco as an alternative source of nicotine. However, with over 3000 chemicals, including over 20 known carcinogens, smokeless tobacco is not a safe substitute for cigarettes.
Both chewing tobacco and snuff are addictive because both contain nicotine. In fact, chew and snuff contain much more nicotine than cigarettes do.Most cigarettes have an average of 8.4 mg of nicotine per cigarette. But one dose of moist stuff has an average of 14.5 mg of nicotine, and one dose of chewing tobacco can have as much as 133 mg of nicotine.
People who are addicted to smokeless tobacco often use it for many years - and this can lead to very serious health problems.
Smokeless tobacco causes oral cancer, and increases the risk of cancers of the pharynx, larynx and esophagus.
Oral cancer includes cancers of the lip, tongue, cheek, throat, gums, roof and floor of mouth, and voice box (larynx). Surgery to treat oral cancer is often extensive and disfiguring and may involve removing parts of the face, tongue, cheek or lip. Oral cancer, like lung cancer, is associated with low survival rates. On average, half of all oral cancer victims are dead within 5 years of diagnosis.
Smokeless tobacco also causes leukoplakia, tooth abrasion, and gum recession. Smokeless tobacco causes a lot of damage to the inside of the mouth. Users can develop mouth sores (called leukoplakia) that can become cancerous. As well, the grit and sand in smokeless tobacco products can scratch...