Smokeless tobacco—also known as chewing tobacco, spit, dip, snuff, or chew—is habit-forming and can cause cancer. Once you start using it, you can quickly find yourself addicted to this disgusting, deadly substance. If you aren’t using tobacco, don’t start. If you are, think about quitting, and get some help if you need it. Your dentist is a good place to start.
Smokeless Tobacco Isn’t Safe
Tobacco companies use the term smokeless tobacco because it makes it sound safe, but it most definitely isn’t. Smokeless tobacco are as bad as cigarettes in many ways:
- Both cigarettes and smokeless tobacco lead to a physical dependence on nicotine. Both are addictive and hard to quit.
- Holding an average-sized dip in your mouth for 30 minutes gives you as much nicotine as smoking three cigarettes. One can of smokeless tobacco gives you as much nicotine as 60 cigarettes (three packs).
- Smokeless tobacco exposes you to toxic, cancer-causing chemicals just like smoking cigarettes.
- Both significantly increase your risk of developing cancer. Smokeless tobacco is known to lead to cancer of the mouth, lip, tongue and pancreas.
- Because you are swallowing the toxic chemicals, smokeless tobacco can also lead to cancer of the voice box, esophagus, colon and bladder.
- Both cigarettes and smokeless tobacco increase your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
The Price of Smokeless Tobacco
Smokeless tobacco has a detrimental effect on not only your health, but also your wallet. Smoking and smokeless tobacco are both expensive habits. Think about what you could do with the money you saved by breaking this bad habit.
Smokeless tobacco can also have a negative impact on your appearance and social life. Think about what goes along with being a smokeless tobacco user:
- Bad breath
- Drooling saliva
- Dirty, stained teeth that brushing won’t clean
- The need to frequently spit a brown, smelly liquid
Most people don’t find this very appealing.
Now think about what you get when you go tobacco-free:
- Better physical health
- Working sense of taste
- Your lips, teeth, gums, tongue, throat, and voice box may stay healthier
- Better breath and better hygiene
- You will be in control; addiction can’t control you
- You save money
The choice is a no-brainer.
Until You Quit
Until you decide to quit smokeless tobacco, be aware that you are at much greater risk of mouth and throat cancer. There are 28,000 new cases diagnosed each year, and only half of those will live five years or more.
Watch for leathery white patches, called leukoplakia, and red sores can appear. These can turn into cancer. Also be aware that your gums will pull away from your teeth and will not grow back. When these symptoms occur, see your dentist as soon as possible. Early detection and treatment give you the best chance of survival and recovery.