Is Smokeless Tobacco A Healthier Alternative for Cigarettes?

Great number of people are addicted to smoking. Generally, smoking refers to the dependence of people on cigarettes to gain pleasure. Cigarettes emit smoke when the tobacco in them is burnt. Unlike cigarettes, smokeless tobacco is characterized by the total absence of smoke. The tobacco is used in its smokeless form.

The use of smokeless tobacco is quite common in the United States as well as other parts of the world. However, several health hazards are associated with it.

Types of Smokeless Tobacco

Presently there are two chief kinds of smokeless tobacco that are available, namely – chewing tobacco and snuff. Chewing tobacco is obtainable as loose leaf, plug, or twist. Snuff is available in the form of finely crushed tobacco that can be dry, moist, or in sachets that resemble tea bag-like pouches. Generally, certain types of snuff can be made use of through sniffing or inhaling into the nose. However the majority of smokeless tobacco users put the substance in their cheek or between their gum and cheek. After sucking on, the tobacco users spit out the tobacco juices. That is why, smokeless tobacco is frequently described as spit or spitting tobacco.

Smokeless Tobacco not an Alternative to Cigarettes

tobacco.jpgSmokeless tobacco is a major health hazard, and is not considered a reliable alternative for smoking cigarettes. Twenty eight cancer-causing agents, also referred to as carcinogens, are present in smokeless tobacco. They enhance the threat of cancer of the oral cavity. Complications related to oral health are closely connected with smokeless tobacco use such as leukoplakia, a lesion of the soft tissue that comprises a white patch or plaque that cannot be scraped off, and extensive damage to the gums. Smokeless tobacco use can result in addiction to nicotine and dependence on it. Adolescents who are hooked to smokeless tobacco are more prone to become cigarette smokers.

The Spread of its Use

In the United States, the use of smokeless tobacco is widespread among young white males, American Indians, Alaska Natives, people who live in southern and north central states, and individuals who are engaged in blue collar jobs, service or laborer jobs, and those without employment. Presently, in the US, an anticipated 3 percent of adults are smokeless tobacco users. The use of smokeless tobacco is higher among men which is 6 percent in comparison to women which is 0.3 percent. The present break up of adult smokeless tobacco users in the United States consists of 4 percent of American Indian or Alaska Natives, 4 percent of whites, 1 percent of African Americans, 1 percent of Hispanics, and 0.6 percent of Asian-American.

In the US, seven percent of high school students indulge in the habit of using smokeless tobacco. Smokeless tobacco is widespread among males which is about 11 percent compared to female high school students which accounts for nearly 2 percent. Approximation by race or ethnicity is 8 percent for white, 5 percent for Hispanic, and 3 percent for African American high school students.