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Smoking and Tobacco

Smoking and smokeless tobacco

04/12/2007

Question:

Someone told me that there was a recent study saying that if you wanted to quit smoking you should start using smokeless tobacco. Is this a real study or did my friend make that up?

Answer:

Smokeless tobacco is NOT a safe alternative to smoking, and should NOT be substituted to try to quit smoking. If you hold an average size dip or chew in your mouth for 30 minutes, you get as much nicotine as you do from about 3 cigarettes, according to the National Cancer Institute. Because smokeless tobacco contains nicotine, it is addictive just like cigarettes.

Some health problems that smokeless tobacco can cause are gum recession (when the gums fall away from the teeth), sores, white patches, red patches or lumps inside the mouth (which are basically signs of damage that has been done to tissues) and oral cancer which includes cancers of the mouth, parts of the throat and pharynx or voice box. Research does show that users of smokeless tobacco are at four times the risk of developing oral cancer than non-users.

It is important for individuals who are trying to quit tobacco use to have encouragement, information on how to learn skills to deal with quitting (and staying quit) and nicotine replacement therapy if necessary.

It can be very difficult to break the addiction; however, there are methods available to assist people with cravings and withdrawal symptoms. The two websites listed below are specific to smokeless tobacco. They are both great resources that provide information about smokeless tobacco, benefits of quitting and methods to help people quit. Keep mind it is always best to consult your physician before using any of the nicotine replacement therapies.

Related Resources:

Quitting Spit and Other Forms of Oral Tobacco
Smokeless Tobacco

For more information:

Go to the Smoking and Tobacco health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Amanda Blake, BA, TTS, OCPS 1
Wellness and Prevention Specialist
JamesCare for Life
The James
The Ohio State University