Smokeless Tobacco (cont.)

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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

Reader Stories

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:

  • cheek,
  • gums,
  • lips,
  • 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.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/27/2015

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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: Do you or someone you know have cancer due to chewing tobacco? If so, please share your experience so that it may help others.
Smokeless Tobacco - Treatments Question: What treatments have you tried to quit using chewing tobacco, and were they effective?