There are many different ways one can take tobacco. Chewing it is one of the most dangerous ways.
Chewing tobacco or smokeless tobacco can lead to addiction, cause various cancers, increase the risk for early birth or stillbirth, and increase the chances of death from heart disease and stroke, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The National Institute of Drug Abuse says that nearly 600,000 women older than 12 years in the United States use of smokeless tobacco.
Chewing tobacco products contain 30 cancer-causing substances. Like cigarettes, smokeless tobacco also contains nicotine, according to the Mayo Clinic.
The nicotine in the products is one of the reasons addiction develops. One’s body absorbs the same amount of nicotine from chewing as it does from smoking.
If someone regularly chews tobacco, they are at risk for tooth decay and gum disease. Chewing tobacco contains high amounts of sugar, which contributes to cavities and left untreated and lead to the decaying of the teeth. “Chewing tobacco also contains coarse particles that can irritate your gums and scratch away at the enamel on your teeth, making your teeth more vulnerable to cavities,” said the Mayo Clinic.
These sugars can also lead to gum disease, because they force the gum to pull away from the tooth when the tobacco is placed in someone’s mouth.
Long-term tobacco users may face a 50 percent greater risk of developing cancer of the cheeks and gums, according to the American Cancer Society.
To stop using any tobacco product, start by talking to your doctor. Or talk to a counselor from your state’s quitline by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669). The National Cancer Institute also offers help at 877-44U-QUIT (877-448-7848). The Asian American Quitline offers support in Chinese and other languages at 1-800-838-8917.
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