Smokeless Tobacco Facts
Smokeless tobacco is a fine-grain tobacco that is chewed rather than smoked. It is also referred to as spit tobacco, chewing tobacco, dip, snuff, chew or chaw. Users pinch the tobacco from a pouch or can and place it between their lower lip and gum. The tobacco juices are then sucked and spit out as nicotine is absorbed into the bloodstream through the tissues in your mouth.
Many users, especially young people, think smokeless tobacco is safer than smoking. This is far from the truth. Chewing tobacco contains many of the same toxic chemicals as cigarettes, and three times the amount of nicotine. This makes it even more addictive and harder to quit. Young people who dip are also more likely to smoke cigarettes later in their lives.
Smokeless tobacco use leads to a variety of health risks. It is strongly associated with leukoplakia — a white patch or plaque on the soft tissue in the mouth that often leads to cancer. Chewing tobacco also causes recession of the gums, gum disease and tooth decay. Many male smokeless tobacco users experience reduced sperm counts and abnormal sperm cells, too.
Smokeless tobacco and cancer also go hand-in-hand. Smokeless tobacco contains at least 28 cancer-causing chemicals, which can lead to cancer in the mouth, throat and pancreas.
What About Snus?
Snus is a form of smokeless, spitless tobacco. There is a misconception that it’s not harmful, but this is far from the truth. Snus contains nicotine, and it’s been linked to mouth sores, dental cavities, stroke and diabetes.