Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Myths about Snus and smokeless tobacco

The new tactic of the tobacco companies is to promote smokeless tobacco and snus as a way to quit smoking but those forms of tobacco are dangerous too. Here are some myths taken from: http://oralcancernews.org/wp/

Debunking the myths
Myth: Smokeless tobacco products are a safe alternative to tobacco smoking.
Fact: Here is the bottom line–smokeless is not harmless. The list of serious illnesses connected to any form of smokeless tobacco is almost too long to print, but includes mouth cancer, cancer of the pancreas, tooth loss, and bone loss around the roots of teeth.

Myth: Smokeless tobacco contains less nicotine than cigarettes.
Fact: The amount of nicotine absorbed from a can of spit tobacco is equal to the amount delivered by three to four packs of cigarettes. Nicotine is absorbed more slowly from smokeless tobacco than from cigarettes, but more nicotine per dose is absorbed from smokeless tobacco than from cigarettes. Also, the nicotine stays in the bloodstream longer.

Myth: Nicotine and all the other poisons disappear when you spit out the tobacco.
Fact: When chewers place snuff or smokeless tobacco in their mouth, cheek, or lip, they give nicotine a free pass to do its nasty thing. A high dose of nicotine enters the bloodstream and is then carried throughout the body. It takes its toll on many parts of the body, including the heart and blood vessels, hormones, metabolism, and brain.

Myth: A little dip or chew won’t hurt–it’s a harmless habit!
Fact: Even a little smokeless tobacco has enough nicotine in it to get a user hooked, if he keeps using it. Smokeless tobacco contains nicotine, the same drug that makes cigarettes addictive. Holding an average size dip or chew in the mouth for 30 minutes delivers as much nicotine as about three cigarettes. Some smokeless tobacco users sleep with it in their mouths so they keep getting nicotine through the night. That’s an addiction, not a habit.

Myth: Smokeless tobacco use will improve your social and romantic life.
Fact: Just the opposite! Chewing and dipping carry a heavy social price, especially when it comes to dating. Bad breath, ugly gum disease, and stained teeth are universally unappealing. The bulging cheeks, gunk stuck in the mouth, and spitting required by most smokeless tobacco is hardly date-bait. Surgery for oral cancer can result in removal of parts of the face, tongue, cheek or lip, a difficult scenario for a great love connection.

Myth: Americans are getting the message that smokeless does not equal harmless.
Fact: If grades were given for this sort of thing, the Nation’s spit tobacco grade would be a barely passing grade of “D.” Rates of spit tobacco use by high school males are high. Nationally, about one in seven high school males currently use spit or smokeless tobacco products, and in some states that number is one out of four.

For the total Department of Defense male population, the rate of smokeless tobacco use is 21.6 percent, significantly exceeding the rate in the general population.

Myth: If you spit for five years or less you won’t get cancer or heart disease.
Fact: Research reported at the Mayo Clinic and other well-respected organizations indicates that any amount of smokeless tobacco use is dangerous, regardless of whether it’s used for a few years or a decade. Smokeless tobacco users have a greater risk for oral cancer than non-users. Oral cancer can form in as little as five years of regular use.

Myth: Smokeless tobacco is easy to give up–you can quit any time you want to.
Fact: Since smokeless tobacco contains nicotine, it’s as addictive as a cigarette, and users will experience the same withdrawal symptoms. These are usually strongest the first week after quitting. The worst is over after two weeks.


Anonymous said...


Perhaps the most common misconception about smokeless tobacco in modern times is that it is healthier, i.e., less damaging and risky, than cigarette smoking. This has contributed to many parents tolerating their children's use of smokeless tobacco, believing it to be a more wholesome alternative to cigarettes. However, this has been shown to be far from the truth. In study after study, researchers have proved that smokeless tobacco is actually more far addictive than cigarettes because of its higher nicotine levels, making the products even harder to stop using. On average, one can of snuff contains as much nicotine as 60 cigarettes. The average habitual smokeless tobacco user will receive 130-250 mg nicotine per day, compared with 180 mg for a person with a pack-a-day cigarette habit.

Source: http://www.faqs.org/health/topics/19/Smokeless-tobacco.html

I recommend this link for all spit tobacco users that are trying to quit: www.killthecan.org

floppy wang said...

Re: Anonymous

Yes, smokeless tobacco does contain more nicotine than cigarettes. They are probably more addictive than cigarettes, from my personal experience. However, products like snus are much much safer (not safe, safer...relatively) than cigarettes.

"Use of Swedish snus should be added to the list of tentative risk factors for pancreatic cancer. We were unable to confirm any excess of oral or lung cancer in snus users."


Snus does increase your chance of getting pancreatic cancer by double. However, pancreatic cancer is rare enough in nontobacco users that double the rate is a negligible risk. Furthermore, snus use increases pancreatic cancer rates at a much lower degree than cigarettes.

Stop spreading misinformation. If you really want to make a difference, focus on the Harm Reduction approach.

VJ Sleight, Queen of Quitting said...

Since I beat the odds and developed cancer when I was 32, I don't beleive in "harm reduction", which just means less deadly--but it's still deadly. It's still a gamble and as long as you're not the one to get caught, then OK but how do you know that you won't be the one, that even with a less risk of cancer, that you own't develop it? Also, I have read new thesis' from the Karolina Institute in Sweden and Snus is not as risk free as many are lead to believe. there are many inconsistencies with the current research.

smokelesscigarettes said...

This post is really informative. If you can’t leave your smoking habit immediately you can switch to the smokeless electronic cigarette or e-cigs with which you can really save yourself and your surroundings from the risks that are associated with smoking any traditional cigarette.

VJ Sleight, Queen of Quitting said...

The probelm with e-cigs is that this is no independent testing as to the safety of the nicotine mixture. Some tests show that it delivers no more nicotine than the nicotine inhaler (by prescription) which has been a safety record. I would be concerned about inhaling a vapor from a product made in China where the safety standards are non-existent. So try the inhaler to quit. But the physical aspect is only part of the problem, unless the social, psychological, and behavioral aspects are addressed, most will relapse after they stop using what ever nicotine replacement product was used.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

Good Article

Anonymous said...

Interesting for)) ff

Anonymous said...

I keep hearing that while no tobacco is safe that chewing tobacco is up to 90% safer for you. Even in your article, you don't say it's not safer but that tobacco in general isn't safe. So please tell... do chewers have a less all around risk than smokers.

Anonymous said...

You really shouldn't mix snus and dip they are totally different products: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snus#Health_consequence
and it does help people quit smoking. e-cig don't really work cause they don't deliver MOA, neither does nicotine inhaller. Snus has helped me to quit smoking and i only use it very rarely now

Anonymous said...

swedish snus and american smokeless are two different things. if anti tobacco would be honest some (smokers) lives could be saved.

waiting for governments to "approve" snus is like waiting for the fox to give back the chickens. smoking taxes feed those bureaucrats and they don't give a rip about anyones health.

snus is about as dangerous as a cup of coffee and about 1000 times less dangerous than a liter of whiskey or case of beer.

no one is forcing anyone to use snus. if they want to keep smoking that is their choice. if a non smoker don't want to use snus then i say great! but why do you want to kill the current and future smokers by treating snus like dip and cigarettes?

Anonymous said...

ps i smoked cigs for 35+ years and have been smoke free for 5 years now with snus and have hardly thought about a cig either. sorry if that violates others ideas of what snus is. and i have great doctor check ups since also. no problems at all

Anonymous said...

Replacing one form of nicotine delivery with another is no more helpful than trading liquor for beer to try to quit drinking. Folks can brag all they want that they are "smoke free," but they are still addicts to nicotine. Yes, at least those around you don't have to suffer through the smoke, etc., but what have the snus or tobacco user really done? Even the oral habit is still there because you've still got something in your mouth. The dip or snus will be just as tough to give up as the cigs if not more so.

Anonymous said...

who cares if they are addicted its not going to stop them in there normal day to functions like addiction would to a crack addict ,and whats so wrong being addicted to something to being with i'm addicted to coffee if i don't have cup in the morning i get a head ache so what? Theres nothing immoral about that. i guess some people can't stand it when another person finds enjoyment in something.

Raj Wadhwa said...

This article has summed up the myths beautifully. It needs great will power to kick the habit goodbye. the sooner we do it the better. I have also compiled few of the myths about smoking, quitting and chewable tobacco that people think reduces all the risks involved.
Smoking: Myths, quitting and chewing tobacco