Smokeless (or chewing) tobacco is known by many names such as chew, dip, dipping, or chaw. Smokeless tobacco has been glorified through the years by baseball players and cowboys and was originally the most popular form of tobacco in the United States until smoking surpassed it in popularity in the early 20th century. Many people think of it as an alternative to smoking, but it is just as dangerous and can result in various cancers, oral lesions, gum and tooth loss, and may even contribute to heart disease. However, this habit and its deadly side effects can be prevented.
Effects of Chewing Tobacco
Chewing tobacco is used by putting a chunk of smokeless tobacco between the lower lip and the gum, then any excess juices are spit out into a can, spitting jar, or cup. Chewing tobacco is often thought of as a safer alternative to smoking, however, chewing tobacco contains nicotine and is just as addictive as smoking tobacco, and can also cause oral cancer just like cigarettes do. Sometimes oral cancer is treated by removing tissue or bone from the mouth and could require some facial reconstruction. But getting oral cancer is not the only side effect that occurs. Since smokeless tobacco is chewed it can also cause cavities, precancerous white lesions in the mouth, and gum disease.
Chewing tobacco has irreversible side effects that if left untreated can be fatal. Cancer and other side effects of smokeless tobacco can be prevented. The best prevention is never using smokeless tobacco, but if you already use smokeless tobacco your best bet is to stop immediately. Kicking the habit is the only way to prevent the damaging side effects that chewing tobacco can do to the body.
If you have a hard time quitting on your own there is help out there. You can talk to your doctor or dentist about a quitting plan and they can give you advice and incentives to get you going in the right direction. There are also many support groups for people who chew tobacco, and you can also enlist your family and friends to help.
If you prefer to gradually break away from your nicotine addiction you can get quitting devices such as inhalers, nicotine patches, nicotine gum, nasal spray, or lozenges. There are also a few prescription products such as bupropion and varenicline that can help with many nicotine withdrawal symptoms and must be prescribed by your doctor. The bottom line is that cancer and other harmful side effects can be prevented if the use of smokeless tobacco is stopped early enough.