It may not be inhaled into the lungs, but smokeless tobacco exposes users to some of the same potent carcinogens as cigarettes. In the August issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, researchers at the University of Minnesota Cancer Center report that users of smokeless tobacco are exposed to higher amounts of tobacco-specific nitrosamines — molecules that are known to be carcinogenic — than smokers.
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Smokeless tobacco is as bad as or worse than smoking cigarettes. Like cigarettes, smokeless tobacco also contains nicotine, an addictive substance. Smokeless tobacco puts more nicotine into a person’s bloodstream than cigarettes.
There are many forms of smokeless tobacco such as chewing, oral and snuff tobacco. This smokeless tobacco contains carcinogens which are cancer causing agents. Carcinogens can enhance the threat of cancer of the oral cavity. This carcinogens cause mouth and throat cancer and other health problems like destruction of bone sockets around the teeth, gum disease and tooth loss.
This tobacco also causes tooth straining and bad breath. Snuff type contains fine grain tobacco which comes in pouches and user dips it between lower lip and gum. Chewing type comes in twisted, shredded or bricked tobacco leaves and users put between cheek and gum. Users suck the spit tobacco and spit out the tobacco juice.
Risk factors of smokeless tobacco:
The spit tobacco increases the risk of mouth and pharnx cancer. These cancers occur several times than non-tobacco users. The other harmful effects of smokeless tobacco are leukoplakia, teeth abrasion, teeth staining, gum recession, addiction to nicotine, bad breath and bone loss around the teeth.
Leukoplakia is a white patch or sore that can become cancerous in the mouth. Leukoplakia is found highly at the place where the user places the tobacco and chew. The longer you get leukoplakia, the longer the person uses oral tobacco.
Bone loss around the teeth and gum recession can be found in tobacco users. Tobacco irritates or destroys the tissue. Smokeless tobacco also plays an important role in hypertension and heart problems. The addictive substance called nicotine in tobacco enters the person’s bloodstream through mouth lining and digestive tract. This addictive substance is the reason for faster heart beat leading to rise in blood pressure.
Nicotine also affects the person’s metabolism, hormonal system and brain. It also acts as depressant which interferes with information flow between nerve cells.
Quitting smokeless tobacco:
When a person tries to quit the tobacco, he may experience some withdrawal symptoms. The withdrawal symptoms can be irritability, dizziness, restlessness, tiredness, depression, headaches, increased appetite, and trouble sleeping.
These feelings can lead the person to use the tobacco again, but the person should be firm to quit smokeless tobacco.
As there are many health problems with smokeless tobacco, user has to select alternatives to quit the tobacco. The alternatives can be nicotine gum or patch, sugarless gum, raisins, hard candy, and sunflower seeds. Involve in healthier activities to divert the attention on smokeless tobacco.