Tobacco Health Risks and Warning Signs

We know there are many tobacco health risks. Do you know the warning signs?

Hundreds of thousands of smokers have swapped to smokeless tobacco as a less visible means of nicotine delivery. But, long-term chewing tobacco and other smokeless tobacco use has just as many tobacco health risks. Most brands of smokeless tobacco contain about 30 cancer-causing substances. Like cigarettes, smokeless tobacco also contains nicotine, meaning you’re just swapping to another form of addiction–with the same tobacco health risks

These Warning Signs Mean You are already Experiencing Tobacco Health Risks:

Addiction

Because smokeless tobacco contains nicotine, you can get addicted, just as you can with cigarettes and other tobacco products. Your body may actually absorb more nicotine from chewing tobacco or snuff than it does from a cigarette. Just as with smoking, withdrawal from smokeless tobacco causes signs and symptoms such as intense cravings, increased appetite, irritability and depressed mood. Also, over time, you develop a tolerance for the nicotine in chewing tobacco and other smokeless tobacco products, and you need more to feel the desired effects. This may lead you to dangerous habits, using brands with more nicotine, using more often, leaving chew in your mouth overnight and swallowing tobacco juices.

Erectile Dysfunction

Surprisingly little media attention is given to the link between nicotine use and ED. Its widely known and publicized that nicotine use hardens arteries and constricts veins and capilaries, restricting bloodflow and is a major contributing factor in heart disease. The same factors affect penile blood flow and contribute significantly to erectile dysfunction in men using any form of tobacco products.

Cavities

Chewing tobacco and other forms of smokeless tobacco cause tooth decay. That’s because chewing tobacco contains high amounts of sugar, which contributes to cavities. Chewing tobacco also contains coarse particles that can irritate your gums and scratch away at the enamel on your teeth, making your teeth more vulnerable to cavities.

Precancerous mouth lesions

Smokeless tobacco increases your risk of developing small white patches called leukoplakia (loo-ko-PLAY-kee-uh) inside your mouth where the chew is most often placed. These mouth lesions are precancerous, meaning that the lesions could one day become cancer. If you stop using smokeless tobacco products, the lesions usually go away within a few months. Quitting chewing tobacco and other forms of smokeless tobacco If you use chewing tobacco or other forms of smokeless tobacco, quit. Now that you know the dangers associated with it, you have extra motivation to stop using smokeless tobacco. And if you’re trying to stop using cigarettes, don’t switch to smokeless tobacco instead. While smokeless tobacco may be safer than cigarettes, smokeless tobacco hasn’t been shown to help you stop smoking. In fact, you may end up using both cigarettes and smokeless tobacco.

Each of these Warning signs are precursors to the following Tobacco Health Risks:

Cancer

Your risk of certain types of cancer increases if you use chewing tobacco or other types of smokeless tobacco. This includes esophageal cancer and various types of oral cancer, including cancers of your mouth, throat, cheek, gums, lips and tongue. Surgery to remove cancer from any of these areas can leave your jaw, chin, neck or face disfigured, and the cancer may be life-threatening. You also face increased risks related to pancreatic cancer and kidney cancer.

Gum disease

The sugar and irritants in chewing tobacco and other forms of smokeless tobacco can cause your gums to pull away from your teeth in the area of your mouth where you place the chew. Over time you can develop gum disease (gingivitis), which can lead to periodontitis and tooth loss. And like cigarettes, chewing tobacco and other smokeless products can stain your teeth and cause bad breath.

Heart disease

Smokeless tobacco increases your heart rate and blood pressure. Some evidence suggests that long-term use of smokeless tobacco increases your risk of dying of certain types of heart disease and stroke.

 

So. Now that you know, what can you do? Quit chewing tobacco and other forms of smokeless tobacco.

If you use chewing tobacco or other forms of smokeless tobacco, quit. Now that you know the dangers associated with it, you have extra motivation to stop using smokeless tobacco. And if you’re trying to stop using cigarettes, don’t switch to smokeless tobacco instead. While smokeless tobacco may be safer than cigarettes, smokeless tobacco hasn’t been shown to help you stop smoking. In fact, you may end up using both cigarettes and smokeless tobacco.

Here’s the best way to quit smokeless tobacco.