Smokeless Tobacco: Not a Harmless Substitute

May 29, 2008, 01:00 ET from Pennsylvania Dental Association

    HARRISBURG, Pa., May 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- At least 28
 cancer-causing chemicals have been identified in smokeless tobacco products
 and its use increases the risk of oral cancer by approximately 50 times.
 Smokeless tobacco is not a safe alternative to cigarettes.
 
     The Pennsylvania Dental Association (PDA) reminds teens and adults
 about the serious health risks, though often underestimated, associated
 with smokeless tobacco.
 
     According to Dr. Bruce Terry, a PDA member and endodontist from Wayne,
 the University of Minnesota Department of Periodontics cites that of the
 estimated 10 million users of smokeless tobacco, three million are under
 the age of 21.
 
     When chewing and sucking on smokeless tobacco, nicotine becomes
 absorbed in the bloodstream through the tissues in the mouth. Smokeless
 tobacco can cause various types of cancer such as mouth, lip, tongue,
 pancreas, voice box, esophagus, colon and bladder cancer. Smokeless tobacco
 can irritate your gum tissue, putting users at an increased risk for
 periodontal (gum) disease. Because smokeless tobacco typically contains
 sugar, sand and grit, the risk for tooth decay and erosion is also
 significantly increased.
 
     In addition to the risk of developing oral cancer, the use of smokeless
 tobacco also causes permanent tooth stains, bad breath and sores and
 painful patches on the lips and gums. Because smokeless tobacco also causes
 the gums to pull away from the teeth, the exposed roots make teeth more
 sensitive and prone to decay. Users are also subject to overall health
 risks such as increased blood pressure and heart rate, increasing the risk
 of heart attacks.
 
     "Of smokeless tobacco users, 40 to 60 percent exhibit leukoplakia (a
 white patch) in the area where the quid (tobacco) is held, usually within a
 few months of beginning regular use," said Dr. Terry. "Leukoplakia is
 regarded as precancerous and on average becomes cancerous in two to six
 percent of presented cases."
 
     PDA offers the following tips to quit smoking and using smokeless
 tobacco:
 
 
-- Choose a "low stress" time to quit. Set a quitting date and plan and stick to it. -- Remove all tobacco products from your home and seek tobacco-free environments. -- Utilize family and friends as a support system. -- Ask your dentist or physician about aids for quitting. -- When you experience a craving, wait it out, drink water, distract yourself and breathe deep. The craving will pass. For more information on other oral health topics, visit PDA's website at www.padental.org.

SOURCE Pennsylvania Dental Association
    HARRISBURG, Pa., May 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- At least 28
 cancer-causing chemicals have been identified in smokeless tobacco products
 and its use increases the risk of oral cancer by approximately 50 times.
 Smokeless tobacco is not a safe alternative to cigarettes.
 
     The Pennsylvania Dental Association (PDA) reminds teens and adults
 about the serious health risks, though often underestimated, associated
 with smokeless tobacco.
 
     According to Dr. Bruce Terry, a PDA member and endodontist from Wayne,
 the University of Minnesota Department of Periodontics cites that of the
 estimated 10 million users of smokeless tobacco, three million are under
 the age of 21.
 
     When chewing and sucking on smokeless tobacco, nicotine becomes
 absorbed in the bloodstream through the tissues in the mouth. Smokeless
 tobacco can cause various types of cancer such as mouth, lip, tongue,
 pancreas, voice box, esophagus, colon and bladder cancer. Smokeless tobacco
 can irritate your gum tissue, putting users at an increased risk for
 periodontal (gum) disease. Because smokeless tobacco typically contains
 sugar, sand and grit, the risk for tooth decay and erosion is also
 significantly increased.
 
     In addition to the risk of developing oral cancer, the use of smokeless
 tobacco also causes permanent tooth stains, bad breath and sores and
 painful patches on the lips and gums. Because smokeless tobacco also causes
 the gums to pull away from the teeth, the exposed roots make teeth more
 sensitive and prone to decay. Users are also subject to overall health
 risks such as increased blood pressure and heart rate, increasing the risk
 of heart attacks.
 
     "Of smokeless tobacco users, 40 to 60 percent exhibit leukoplakia (a
 white patch) in the area where the quid (tobacco) is held, usually within a
 few months of beginning regular use," said Dr. Terry. "Leukoplakia is
 regarded as precancerous and on average becomes cancerous in two to six
 percent of presented cases."
 
     PDA offers the following tips to quit smoking and using smokeless
 tobacco:
 
 
-- Choose a "low stress" time to quit. Set a quitting date and plan and stick to it. -- Remove all tobacco products from your home and seek tobacco-free environments. -- Utilize family and friends as a support system. -- Ask your dentist or physician about aids for quitting. -- When you experience a craving, wait it out, drink water, distract yourself and breathe deep. The craving will pass. For more information on other oral health topics, visit PDA's website at www.padental.org. SOURCE Pennsylvania Dental Association