The Health Effects of Continuing to Use Smokeless Tobacco
The facts are that smokeless tobacco causes serious health consequences and its use is on the rise.
WARNING: These products are not a safe or effective option to help you quit smoking.
Smokeless Tobacco Health Effects:
- 80 percent higher risk of oral cancer1
- 60 percent higher risk of pancreatic and esophageal cancer2
- Use by men causes reduced sperm count and abnormal sperm cells3
- Increased risk of a fatal heart attack and stroke4
Spit tobacco also causes leukoplakia, a disease of the mouth characterized by white patches and oral lesions on the cheeks, gums, and/or tongue. Leukoplakia, which can lead to oral cancer, occurs in more than half of all users in the first three years of use.5
- 60 to 78 percent of smokeless tobacco users have oral lesions6
- Chewing tobacco more than doubles the risk of heart attack7
- You’re four times more likely than non-users to have decayed dental root surfaces8
- Causes gum disease (gingivitis), which can lead to bone and tooth loss9
Smokeless Tobacco Has 28 Cancer-Causing Agents10 and Can Cause the Following Cancers:
- Cancer of the esophagus
- Cancer of the pharynx (throat)
- Cancer of the larynx (voice box)
- Stomach cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
1Boffetta, P, et al., “Smokeless tobacco and cancer,” The Lancet 9:667-675, 2008.
2Boffetta, P, et al., “Smokeless tobacco and cancer,” The Lancet 9:667-675, 2008.
3World Health Organization. Smokeless Tobacco and Some Tobacco-Specific N-Nitrosamines Exit Notification. (PDF–3.18 MB). International Agency for Research on Cancer Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans Vol. 89. Lyon, France: World Health Organization, 2007
4Boffetta, P, et al., “Use of smokeless tobacco and risk of myocardial infarction and stroke: systematic review with meta-analysis,” BMJ, 2009; 339 (aug18 2): b3060 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.b3060
5Hatsukami, D & Severson, H, “Oral Spit Tobacco: Addiction, Prevention and Treatment,” Nicotine & Tobacco Research 1:21-44, 1999
6“The Smokeless Tobacco Outreach and Prevention Guide,” Applied Behavioral Science Press, 1997
7Teo, KK, Ounpuu, S, Hawken, S, Pandey, MR, Valentin, V, Hunt, D, Diaz, R, Rashed, W, Freeman, R, Jiang, L, Zhang, X, Yusuf, S; INTERHEART Study Investigators, “Tobacco use and risk of myocardial infarction in 52 countries in the INTERHEART study: a case-control study,” The Lancet 2006;368(9536):647-58.
8Tomar, SL, “Chewing Tobacco Use and Dental Caries Among U.S. Men,” Journal of the American Dental Association, 1999, 130: 160.
9Tomar, SL, “Chewing Tobacco Use and Dental Caries Among U.S. Men,” Journal of the American Dental Association, 1999, 130: 160.
10Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smokeless Tobacco Facts. n.d. Web. 20 August 2011.