Smokeless tobacco has been considered as something used by older people, at least during the 1970s. However, after this period spit tobacco has become wide-spread among young adults and even boys, under the assumption that it presents a healthier alternative to regular smoking.
Yet, little did people know that this form of tobacco indulgence is even more dangerous for one's health, triggering actual smoking habits in people, among many other health issues it causes.
Marketing Smokeless Tobacco to Kids
A terrifying piece of data has been revealed by internal company documents of the UST, showing plans of new tactics for leading young people into smoking or using smokeless tobacco. This document was obtained several years ago and the strategy was meant to encompass kids as well.
Basically, new users of smokeless tobacco were meant to start indulging into this unhealthy habit by starting with milder-tasting tobacco and more intense flavors; variants which can be more easily controlled while in the mouth, while still having the taste of real tobacco.
In fact, between the years of 1983 and 1984 the UST made smokeless tobacco categories which were meant to help tobacco users advance from beginner smokeless tobacco usage to a more advanced level. Moreover, a specially directed UST newsletter appealed to the youth claiming that once the young customers get used to the flavor, they are motivated to move it up a notch and move on to the higher level of smokeless tobacco. They added candy-tasting flavors to smokeless tobacco. For example, one could purchase Chery Skoal and chew on it, or could opt for some other blends like berry, vanilla etc.
Even in 2006, there were new versions of this smokeless tobacco, with the rise of sub-categories by 140%, expanding their target masses significantly.
Smokeless Tobacco and Kids
Young people, even kids, have been exposed to smokeless tobacco commercials and advertisements over the past years. Moreover, smokeless tobacco companies have been quite present at motorcycling events and similar extreme sport gatherings, sponsoring these and gaining commercial success this way. Some cities or provinces have banned this type of marketing, due to strivings towards protecting their young ones. On the other hand, a vast majority of the US states allows this form of marketing, regardless of the potential damage it may cause.
Subsequently, in 1999, a blend of smokeless tobacco called the Rooster was openly advertised in college newspapers printed for San Diego University. The whole “incident” was covered up with a $150,000 paid to the educational facility, after the whole matter was transferred to the court.
The resilient Rooster appeared in newspapers once more, in 2001, in the Rolling Stone magazine, with an unmistakably convenient slogan “Cock-A-Doodle Freakin’ Do”, aimed at the younger part of the population, especially the revolting adolescents.
Even today, various commercials and advertisements can be seen with the image of the smokeless tobacco logo, luring young people into starting this unhealthy habit.
Harms from Smokeless Tobacco Use
To say the least, smokeless tobacco is incredibly dangerous. Its usage can lead to oral cancer, gum diseases and addiction to the nicotine found inside the product. In fact, more than 50% of all smokeless tobacco users develop a condition called leukoplakia, commonly perceived as a premonition of oral cancer. Also, more than 70% of all smokeless tobacco users develop mouth and gum lesions.
However, it is not only the mouth that suffers from this exposure to smokeless tobacco. Rather, one's esophagus, pharynx, larynx, pancreas and stomach get destroyed due to the effect of tobacco juices. So, long-term exposure can easily lead to various forms of cancer affecting these body parts.
According to a research carried out by the World Health Organization, people who enjoy smoking tobacco on a regular basis have 80% greater chances of developing oral cancer that those who cleverly avoid this awful habit. Moreover, those who are addicted to smokeless tobacco are quite likely to develop esophageal cancer. Namely, their proneness to this disease is 60% greater than in people who do not use tobacco in any form.
The National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the dangerous sides of smokeless tobacco, expanding its damage potential onto one's dental health since the usage of these products leads to serious dental decay.
The American Journal of Preventive Medicine revealed that men who have used smokeless tobacco in the past have about 40% greater chances of becoming actual smokers than those who have never tried tobacco in any form.
All in all, smokeless tobacco is a dangerous habit to have, especially when you are in your adolescent age. Countless health problems, some of which can be deadly and life-threatening, all can be caused by this form of indulgence.
Thus, you are advised to stay away from smokeless tobacco and tobacco altogether, regardless of your age. The price you pay is simply too high for something as useless as chewing on poison.