What Can Chewing Tobacco Cause?


Chewing tobacco, a form of smokeless tobacco, can have serious health consequences. Despite being perceived as a less harmful alternative to smoking, smokeless tobacco poses significant risks to health. Some of the potential health consequences of chewing tobacco include:

  • Cancer: Chewing tobacco is strongly associated with an increased risk of various cancers, including:
    • Oral cancer: Involving the lips, tongue, cheeks, gums, and throat.
    • Pancreatic cancer: Linked to an elevated risk of pancreatic cancer.
    • Esophageal cancer: Chewing tobacco increases the risk of cancer in the esophagus.
  • Nicotine Addiction: Chewing tobacco contains nicotine, a highly addictive substance. Regular use can lead to dependence, making it difficult for individuals to quit.
  • Heart and Cardiovascular Issues: Nicotine from chewing tobacco can increase heart rate and blood pressure, potentially contributing to cardiovascular problems, including heart disease and stroke.
  • Gum and Tooth Problems: Chewing tobacco can lead to:
    • Gum disease (gingivitis and periodontitis): Irritation and inflammation of the gums.
    • Tooth decay: The sugar content in some smokeless tobacco products can contribute to cavities.
    • Tooth abrasion: The grittiness of tobacco can wear down tooth enamel.
  • Leukoplakia: Chewing tobacco can cause the development of white, leathery patches inside the mouth, known as leukoplakia. While not cancerous on its own, leukoplakia can be a precursor to oral cancer.
  • Bad Breath and Discolored Teeth: Chewing tobacco can lead to persistent bad breath and stain the teeth.
  • Decreased Sense of Taste and Smell: Prolonged use of smokeless tobacco can affect the sense of taste and smell.
  • Reproductive and Pregnancy Risks: Chewing tobacco use is associated with increased risks of infertility, low birth weight, and preterm birth if used during pregnancy.
  • Weakened Immune System: Nicotine can suppress the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to infections and illnesses.
  • Social and Psychological Impact: Chewing tobacco use can have social consequences, as it is often stigmatized. Additionally, the health risks and potential complications can contribute to anxiety and stress.

It’s important to note that there is no safe form of tobacco use, and the health risks associated with chewing tobacco are serious. Quitting tobacco use, including smokeless forms, is crucial for reducing these health risks. Support from healthcare professionals, counseling, and smoking cessation programs can be valuable resources for individuals trying to quit chewing tobacco.

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