ANSWER: Some people who have been persuaded to give up smoking have ended up placing the tobacco directly inside their mouth instead—in the mistaken belief that smokeless tobacco (a.k.a. spit tobacco, chew, chaw, dip, plug, etc.) is less toxic and dangerous. In 2004, about 3% of American adults used spit tobacco. This percentage is likely to increase as more public establishments enforce smoking bans across the country.
Users can get their tobacco fix by “dipping” snuff (a fine tobacco, either moist or dry is held between the bottom lip or cheek and gum) or chewing (a wad of leaves, either shredded, twisted or in brick form, is placed between the cheek and gum). If you hold an average-sized plug in your mouth for 30 minutes, you’ll end up with as much nicotine as if you had smoked four cigarettes.
Smokeless tobacco includes more than 28 cancer-causing substances, including the tobacco-specific carcinogen nitrosamines. Some products also contain more than 3,000 chemicals. But that’s not all: Because tobacco often has an unpleasant taste, smokeless brands tend to be loaded with sugar, and that leads to tooth decay. The gritty material in the tobacco leaves wears down the surfaces of the teeth, stains the enamel and scratches the soft tissues in the mouth, allowing the nicotine and other chemicals to enter the blood stream directly. As an added bonus, your gums will likely recede, and you’ll develop oral lesions, a black hairy tongue and bad breath. Some smokeless tobacco products also contain salt that can raise blood pressure in vulnerable persons and may cause kidney disease.
I haven’t even mentioned cancer yet: Long-term snuff users have a 50% higher incidence of cancer of the mouth and pharynx, as well as more malignancies of the larynx and esophagus.
And here’s something you may not have considered: Tobacco chewers must spit—and thereby spread their germs to the rest of us. (About one in three Major League baseball players chew, and if you’ve ever watched a ballgame, you know it’s not pretty.)
The bottom line? If you chew, you have not kicked the nicotine habit. The smoking-cessation products approved by the FDA, such as gum and patches, are the safest available sources of nicotine for those trying to quit. There’s also tobacco-free snuff made from mint, clover, tea or alfalfa.
(Answered by: www.parade.com)