Smokeless tobacco is a cancer risk

Smokeless tobacco is a major risk factor for cancer of the oral cavity and throat. Smoking cigarettes also increases the risk of this type of cancer.



April 26, 2022 - 4:19 PM

Photo by Rusty Clark

From Babe Ruth to John Wayne, Americans have seen chewing tobacco in popular culture for over a century. Spitting chew has been a trademark of cowboys and professional athletes alike and chewing tobacco use continues at high rates in the United States. In 2018 a survey showed 2.4 percent of American adults used smokeless tobacco, with snuff or snus pouch use on the rise and chewing tobacco on the decline.

Though smokeless tobacco use is not associated with lung cancer like smoking is, it has its own set of potential dangers. First, smokeless tobacco does contain nicotine, causes nicotine addiction, and thus can be very difficult to quit. 

Chewing tobacco can wreak havoc on a person’s teeth and gums. It causes tooth discoloration, dental cavities, tooth loss, and recession of the gums, sometimes requiring oral surgery.

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