Smokeless Tobacco (cont.)

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What are the health risks of smokeless tobacco?

A number of significant health risks are associated with the use of smokeless tobacco.

Cancer risk

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Users of smokeless tobacco are at an increased risk for certain types of cancer, most notably cancer of the oral cavity (including cancers of the cheek, gums, lips, tongue, and floor and roof of the mouth. Some studies have suggested a link between the use of smokeless tobacco and the development of pancreatic cancer, esophageal cancer, and stomach cancer.

Other health risks

Those who use smokeless tobacco have an increased risk of:

  • developing gum diseases and gum recession (pulling away of the gum tissue from the teeth);
  • leukoplakia (whitish patches inside the mouth that can become cancerous);
  • abrasion (wearing down) of teeth,;
  • staining of teeth;
  • tooth decay; and
  • tooth loss.

All of the above have been linked to smokeless tobacco use.

Some studies have shown a link between an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (includingheart attacks and stroke) in users of smokeless tobacco, although these risks are not as great as those observed in smokers. Further research is needed to determine whether or not smokeless tobacco use presents a significant risk of heart disease and stroke.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/11/2014

Patient Comments

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Smokeless Tobacco - Experience Question: At what age did you first start chewing tobacco? Please share your experience, including why you started.
Smokeless Tobacco - Cancer Risk Question: Are you a tobacco chewer who developed oral or another type of cancer? Please discuss your experience.
Smokeless Tobacco - Treatments Question: What treatments have you tried to quit using smokeless tobacco?

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