Smokeless tobacco is associated with many health problems. Using smokeless tobacco:
- Can lead to nicotine addiction.
- Causes cancer of the mouth, esophagus (the passage that connects the throat to the stomach), and pancreas (a gland that helps with digestion and maintaining proper blood sugar levels).
- Is associated with diseases of the mouth.
- Can increase risks for early delivery and stillbirth when used during pregnancy.
- Can cause nicotine poisoning in children.
- May increase the risk for death from heart disease and stroke.
- Many smokeless tobacco products contain cancer-causing chemicals.
– The most harmful chemicals are tobacco-specific nitrosamines,
during the growing, curing, fermenting, and aging of tobacco. The amount
of these chemicals varies by product.
– The higher the levels of these chemicals, the greater the risk for cancer.
– Other chemicals found in tobacco can also cause cancer. These include:
- A radioactive element (polonium-210) found in tobacco fertilizer
- Chemicals formed when tobacco is cured with heat (polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons—also known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons)
- Harmful metals (arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, lead, nickel, mercury)
Smokeless Tobacco and Oral Disease
- Smokeless tobacco can cause white or gray patches inside the mouth (leukoplakia) that can lead to cancer.
- Smokeless tobacco can cause gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss.
Mouth Cancer — White Patches
Mouth cancer signs may include bleeding, swelling, white patches or redness in your mouth.
- Using smokeless tobacco increases the risk for death from heart disease and stroke.
- Smokeless tobacco can cause nicotine poisoning in children.
What is the link between tobacco and oral cancer?
Tobacco use is known as a major risk factor for oral and many other cancers. All tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco, and snuff, contain the following:
- Poisonous substances (toxins)
- Cancer-causing agents (carcinogens)
- Nicotine, an addictive substance
Each tobacco product
is linked to an increased risk for specific cancers:
Smokeless tobacco causes cancer of the mouth, esophagus, and pancreas
Say ‘NO’ to Pariki, Mava, Gutkha and other Tobacco substances BEFORE it is too late.
CHB – Your Health is our Priority
Written by: Syed Orujul Hassan, 5th Year Medical Student – Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar es Salaam.
CENTRAL HEALTH BOARD OF AFRICA FEDERATION