There are a lot of names for chewing tobacco and some of the most commonly used are hoobastank, backy, tobac, snuff, pinch and many more. Chewing tobacco is one of the types of tobaccos which cannot be smoked. Instead, a person puts the tobacco between his or her cheek and gum or teeth and simply chews it. The three most common products made from chewing tobacco are loose leaf, pellets and “plug”. The last one is a form of loose leaf tobacco but it is condensed with a binding sweetener.
What are the health effects of chewing tobacco?
Even though the general belief is that smokeless tobacco is pretty damaging to the health, it does not cause that much harm. Many researchers have connected chewing tobacco with various diseases, some of which are deadly, but there is still no strong proof that that is true. However, there is strong proof that the risks of smokeless tobacco are not big. This may prove to be quite a shock for lots of people but it is the truth. One of the main problems is that there is a lot of misinformation about chewing tobacco.
It is a strong belief that smokeless tobacco causes heart diseases and stroke but the truth is that the risks of these conditions are not that big. The experts are saying that there is risk but there is still no strong proof on how big the risk actually is. In almost all studies which included the cardiovascular diseases and chewing tobacco showed no increased risk. However, it is important not to forget that nicotine is a small stimulant and that fact alone is enough for the slight increase in risk of specific cardiovascular diseases, like stroke for instance.
With the current evidence, the increased risk of cardiovascular diseases due to consumption of chewing tobacco is less than 20%. The experts believe that the risk is increased for 3 or 4%.
Doesn’t smokeless tobacco cause oral cancer (cancer of the mouth)?
General belief is that this is true but the data shows that these cases are quite rare. In this case there is strong evidence that the risk of oral cancer due to chewing tobacco is quite small.
The risk of oral cancer is generally low in people who do not smoke or drink huge amounts of alcohol and it is the same with those who consume smokeless tobacco. For instance, the risk of oral cancer due to smokeless tobacco is not as nearly as high as lung and heart disease due to smoking.
Due to this fact, a lot of experts believe that chewing tobacco should be a part of the program in which a person quits smoking.
However, not only one study should be looked at when scientific studies are performed, because they wary. There were a few researches which showed an increase in risk of oral cancer due to consumption chewing tobacco but a lot more other studies proved that the risk increase was minimal.
A person who consumed chewing tobacco has 10 to 20% more chance of developing oral cancer than a person who does not smoke and does not drink a lot of alcohol.
Some believe that the consumption of chewing tobacco causes oral lesions which can become cancerous but that almost never happens.
Doesn’t smokeless tobacco cause other cancers?
There were some cases in which it was proved that smokeless tobacco was the cause of development of certain cancer types but these cases are extremely rare. The experts are saying that there is no strong evidence that chewing tobacco can cause other cancers apart from oral. However, the belief is that it is possible but the chances of that happening are really small. The fact is that there is not one piece of strong evidence which proves that smokeless tobacco causes any kind of cancer. Due to this fact, if there is any risk of development of any type of cancer, the chances are quite small.
Apart from oral cancer, other cancer types which may be associated with chewing tobacco are laryngeal, esophageal and gastric cancer. The main reason why that is so, is because all of these parts of the body actually come in contact with the tobacco. However, no strong proof was found that there is an increased risk of cancer in any of these parts. The researcher have, however, looked at all cancers combined and have reported that they were unable to find any increase of cancer in those who used smokeless tobacco. Due to this fact, there is no reason to believe that chewing tobacco can increase the chance of any particular cancer.