Smokeless Tobacco May Be Worse Than Cigarettes
As we all know, smoking is bad for your health. But did you realize that smokeless tobacco products, such as chews and dips, may represent an even greater health risk? As compared to cigarettes, smokeless tobacco:
- Contains more nicotine. This addictive compound negatively impacts your cardiovascular system by speeding up your heartbeat, constricting your blood vessels and increasing your blood pressure.
- Quadruples your risk of oral cancer. After using smokeless tobacco products for 50 years, your risk is about 50 times greater. Smokeless tobacco is also linked to cancer of the esophagus and pancreas and may contribute to lung cancer as well.
- Negatively impacts your mouth. After a couple years of using smokeless tobacco, your teeth will become stained and your gums will recede. About half of all users develop thick, white patches in their oral lining. These patches have the potential to develop into cancer.
In cases of oral cancer, early detection and treatment are critical. If you use smokeless tobacco products, seek medical help if you notice one of the following warning signs:
- Sores that bleed easily and won't heal on your lips, gums or mouth
- Lumps or thickened tissue
- Persistent reddish or whitish patches
- Difficulty swallowing, chewing or moving your tongue or jaw
Next: Take This Quiz to Test Your Smoking IQ