Overheard On Campus: Is cheaper chewing tobacco more harmful than the expensive kind?

Contributed by Beau Dooley, M.S., M.P.H.

Baseball player using chewing tobacco

Photo credit: AP/Rob Carr

Though there may be some variation among different brands and types of chewing tobacco in terms of the amount of nicotine, additives, and chemicals found in each product, the bottom line is that all are equally harmful to your health.  All brands of chewing tobacco contain significant amounts of nicotine, which can lead to addiction and dependence on tobacco products.  The high quantities of sugar found in most brands of chewing tobacco can lead to tooth decay and the coarse particles found in chewing tobacco can irritate the gums, causing gingivitis and periodontal disease, and can damage the enamel of your teeth.

However, the most potential for harm – no matter what brand you chew – comes from the 28 known carcinogens (or cancer-causing chemicals) found in chewing tobacco.  These carcinogens cause cancer of the esophagus, mouth, throat, gums, lips, and tongue, and can increase your risk for developing other types of cancer.  Thus, switching chewing tobacco brands in order to have a ‘safer’ tobacco experience will not be effective.

Your best bet to minimize your risks and maximize your health is to quit using tobacco products altogether.

For more information on tobacco use prevention, articles on effects and consequences, and resources for quitting, check out the Tobacco section of MyStudentBody. You can also check these resources below:

http://www.smokefree.gov
http://www.cancer.org/Healthy/StayAwayfromTobacco/GuidetoQuittingSmoking/index

One thought on “Overheard On Campus: Is cheaper chewing tobacco more harmful than the expensive kind?

  1. Not smoking or chewing tobacco period would of course be the best course of action, but it stands to reason that the cheaper versions of chewing tobacco are going to be even unhealthier. I’m not sure why people would even want to chew tobacco, but I guess there is a market for it.

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