Smokeless Tobacco Prevention

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  • The average age a Texas teen starts using smokeless tobacco is 13. Source: Texas School Survey of Substance Using Among Students
  • 4.2% of Texas adults use smokeless tobacco, but 14.5% of Texas youth use it. Source: Texas BRFSS Survey; 2014 Youth Tobacco Survey
  • Adolescents who use smokeless tobacco are more likely to become cigarette smokers. Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • Dippers may be exposed to more cancer-causing chemicals than smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, because tobacco has higher nicotine levels per serving. Source: American Legacy Foundation
  • It does not matter what kind it is - smokeless or cigarettes - all tobacco contains nicotine, making it highly addictive. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Other facts about smokeless tobacco:

  • Chewing and dipping can cause gum and tooth problems like receding gums, wear on tooth enamel, and tooth decay, which can make you lose your teeth.
  • Smokeless tobacco is not safer than cigarettes.

What Causes the Damage?

Chewing tobacco and the juices from it may produce leukoplakia, which is white patches on the inside of your mouth that can develop into oral cancer. Three to five percent of people diagnosed with leukoplakias can develop oral cancers.

Different types of smokeless tobacco contain high concentrations of certain carcinogens (chemicals that can cause cancer), which raises the risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, larynx, and esophagus.

Other Problems

The nicotine from tobacco goes into the bloodstream through the lining of the mouth and can be addicting. Smokeless tobacco also has sugar in it to make it taste better and making it easier to cause tooth decay. People who are diabetic need to know this so that they can better control their diabetes.

Many athletes use smokeless tobacco. What they may not know is that the nicotine in it raises the heart rate and blood pressure that can cause them to have  an irregular heartbeat. These conditions could affect their athletic performance. A rise in blood pressure may also increase the risk of strokes and heart attacks.

When someone puts tobacco or snuff between their cheek or gum, it makes a lot of saliva. Having that much saliva makes you spit or swallow it. It also makes you have bad breath and it stains your teeth. Smokeless tobacco does not make you look good.

Talk with your doctor or dentist to find out more how smokeless tobacco can hurt.

More information:

CDC-Smokeless Tobacco: Health Effects
American Cancer Society

Last updated December 9, 2015