- How Smoking Affects Your Looks & Life Slideshow
- Tips to Quit Smoking Slideshow
- Take the Quiz on Smoking
- Patient Comments: Smokeless Tobacco - Experience
- Patient Comments: Smokeless Tobacco - Treatments
- Find a local Doctor in your town
- Chewing tobacco facts
- What is chewing tobacco?
- What are the health risks of chewing tobacco?
- Cancer risk and chewing tobacco
- Other health risks of chewing tobacco
- Is chewing tobacco safer than cigarette smoking?
- What is being done to reduce the use of chewing tobacco?
- What treatments are available to help people quit using chewing tobacco?
What are the health risks of chewing tobacco?
A number of significant health risks are associated with the use of chewing tobacco.
Cancer risk and chewing tobacco
Users of snuff and chewing tobacco are at an increased risk for certain types of cancer, most notably cancer of the oral cavity including cancers of the:
- tongue, and
- floor and roof of the mouth.
Some studies have suggested a link between the use of chewing tobacco and the development of:
Other health risks of chewing tobacco
Those who use chewing 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 chewing tobacco use.
Some studies have shown a link between an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (including heart attacks and stroke) in users of snuff and chewing tobacco, although these risks are not as great as those observed in smokers. Further research is needed to determine whether or not chewing tobacco use presents a significant risk of heart disease and stroke.