What are the facts of forms, with the user putting a All tobacco, including
smokeless tobacco? wad of tobacco inside the smokeless tobacco, contains
cheek. Smokeless tobacco is nicotine, which is addictive.
sometimes called ―spit‖ or The amount of nicotine
Key Points ―spitting‖ tobacco because absorbed from smokeless
Snuff is a finely ground or people spit out the tobacco tobacco is 3 to 4 times the
shredded tobacco that is either juices and saliva that build up amount delivered by a
sniffed through the nose or in the mouth. cigarette. Nicotine is absorbed
placed between the cheek and more slowly from smokeless
gum. Chewing tobacco is used 2. What harmful chemicals tobacco than from cigarettes,
by putting a wad of tobacco are found in smokeless but more nicotine per dose is
inside the cheek. tobacco? absorbed from smokeless
tobacco than from cigarettes.
Chewing tobacco and snuff Chewing tobacco and snuff Also, the nicotine stays in the
contain 28 cancer-causing contain 28 carcinogens bloodstream for a longer time.
agents. (cancer-causing agents). The
3. What cancers are caused
Smokeless tobacco users have most harmful carcinogens in
smokeless tobacco are the by or associated with
an increased risk of developing
tobacco-specific nitrosamines smokeless tobacco use?
cancer of the oral cavity.
(TSNAs). They are formed Smokeless tobacco users
Several national organizations during the growing, curing, increase their risk for cancer of
offer information about the fermenting, and aging of the oral cavity. Oral cancer can
health risks of smokeless tobacco. TSNAs have been include cancer of the lip,
tobacco and how to quit. detected in some smokeless tongue, cheeks, gums, and the
tobacco products at levels floor and roof of the mouth.
1. What is smokeless many times higher than levels
of other types of nitrosamines People who use oral snuff for a
tobacco? long time have a much greater
that are allowed in foods, such
There are two types of as bacon and beer. risk for cancer of the cheek
smokeless tobacco—snuff and and gum than people who do
Other cancer-causing not use smokeless tobacco.
chewing tobacco. Snuff, a
substances in smokeless
finely ground or shredded The possible increased risk for
tobacco include N-nitrosamino
tobacco, is packaged as dry, other types of cancer from
acids, volatile N-nitrosamines,
moist, or in sachets (tea bag- smokeless tobacco is being
like pouches). Typically, the studied.
user places a pinch or dip
between the cheek and gum. 4. What are some of the
hydrazine, arsenic, nickel,
Chewing tobacco is available other ways smokeless
cadmium, benzopyrene, and
in loose leaf, plug (plug-firm tobacco can harm users’
and plug-moist), or twist health?
Some of the other effects of group counseling, and telephone
smokeless tobacco use include quitlines.
addiction to nicotine, oral
7. Who uses smokeless tobacco?
leukoplakia (white mouth lesions
that can become cancerous), gum
disease, and gum recession (when
In the United States, the 2000 Tobacco and
National Household Survey on
the gum pulls away from the Drug Abuse, which was conducted
teeth). Possible increased risks for by the Substance Abuse and
heart disease, diabetes, and Mental Health Services
reproductive problems are being Administration, reported the
studied. following statistics:
5. Is smokeless tobacco a good
substitute for cigarettes?
An estimated 7.6 million
Americans age 12 and older (3.4
In 1986, the Surgeon General percent) had used smokeless
concluded that the use of tobacco in the past month.
smokeless tobacco ―is not a safe Smokeless tobacco use was most
substitute for smoking cigarettes. common among young adults
It can cause cancer and a number ages 18 to 25.
of noncancerous conditions and
can lead to nicotine addiction and Men were 10 times more likely
dependence.‖ Since 1991, NCI has than women to report using
officially recommended that the smokeless tobacco (6.5 percent of
public avoid and discontinue the men age 12 and older compared
use of all tobacco products, with 0.5 percent of women).
including smokeless tobacco. NCI People in many other countries
also recognizes that nitrosamines, and regions, including India, parts
found in tobacco products, are not of Africa, and some Central Asian
safe at any level. The accumulated countries, have a long history of
scientific evidence does not using smokeless tobacco products.
support changing this position.
8. Where can people find help to
6. What about using smokeless quit using smokeless tobacco?
tobacco to quit cigarettes?
Health Promotions in the Naval
Because all tobacco use causes Hospital offers monthly classes on
disease and addiction, NCI tobacco cessation. Call 830-
recommends that tobacco use be 2814 for more information.
avoided and discontinued. Several Robert E Bush
non-tobacco methods have been Date reviewed: 07/2006 Naval Hospital
shown to be effective for quitting Twentynine Palms
cigarettes. These methods include Health Promotions
pharmacotherapies such as
nicotine replacement therapy and
bupropion SR, individual and www.nhtp.med.navy.mil