Written by Lisyuri Gallardo

Recently, San Diego Padres baseball player Tony Gwynn died of mouth cancer that was caused by his habit of using a form of smokeless tobacco called dipping tobacco. Gwynn had been in contact with dipping tobacco during his entire 20-year major league baseball career.

As many can see, this can become an issue when this problem is still clearly evident in major league baseball today. Many think smokeless tobacco is an alternative and better solution than to smoking cigarettes or cigars, but this is completely untrue. Smokeless tobacco can cause just as many problems for people as smoking tobacco can. Here are some problems smokeless tobacco can cause and some of the kinds of smokeless tobacco there are.

Health Hazards of Using Smokeless Tobacco

  • There are 28 harmful chemicals in smokeless tobacco that are known to cause cancers such as oral cancer, esophageal cancer, and pancreatic cancer.
  • Smokeless tobacco can also cause other harmful diseases like heart disease, and other oral diseases besides oral cancer.
  • Smokeless tobacco can be just as addictive as smoking tobacco products like cigarettes and cigars. This is due to the fact that all forms of tobacco contain the addictive quality of nicotine.
  • Smokeless tobacco can also cause the decay of exposed tooth roots and can also cause gums to pull away from teeth.
  • Smokeless tobacco is also not a safe substitute for someone wanting to quit smoking or postpone smoking. Doing this can cause someone to become addicted to smokeless and smoking tobaccos. Also, many health risks can increase by doing this.

Forms of Smokeless Tobacco

  • Dipping Tobacco – tobacco that is placed between the lips and gums
  • Chewing Tobacco – tobacco that is chewed
  • Snuff – tobacco that is similar to dipping tobacco, but much finer
  • Creamy Snuff – fluid tobacco sold as a dental hygiene aid
  • Tobacco Gum – chewing gum that contains tobacco
  • Dissolvable Tobacco – a kind of chewing tobacco that dissolves in the mouth

Smokeless tobacco is nothing to mess with. Yes, you do not smoke this kind of tobacco, but it can be just as or more harmful than smoking tobacco. Both kinds of tobacco have their risks that can be very harmful to a person’s health. All forms of smokeless tobacco carry the same side effects of using them. One is not safer to use than the other. Any amount of tobacco used, whether it is small or large, can damage a person’s health.

For more information, please call SLV Health's Tobacco Navigator, Lisyuri Gallardo, at 719-587-6334

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