Why Quitting is so Difficult
Health Risks of Smokeless Tobacco
- Using smokeless tobacco increases your risk of oral cancer, which includes cancers of the mouth, throat, cheek, gums, lips and tongue. Oral cancer is one of the most difficult cancers to treat, and surgery to remove it can leave your jaw, chin, neck or face disfigured. On average, only half the people with this disease will survive more than five years.
- Smokeless tobacco increases your heart rate and blood pressure, and may increase your risk of heart attack. People who use smokeless tobacco also have higher cholesterol levels than those who don't use tobacco.
- Recent studies have linked chewing tobacco and snus to an increased risk of pancreatic cancer.
- Using smokeless tobacco causes sores, white patches, red patches and lumps inside your mouth. White or red patches, that often occur where the chew is most often placed, can become cancerous. After stopping tobacco usage, these sores usually go away in a few weeks or a few months.
- Smokeless tobacco contains even more nicotine than cigarettes. People who use chewing tobacco eventually develop a tolerance for nicotine and need more tobacco to feel the desired effects of the nicotine.
- Chewing tobacco and other forms of smokeless tobacco cause gums to recede, gum disease, tooth decay and tooth loss. Other negative effects include stained teeth and bad breath.
When you quit smoking, your risk of stroke decreases steadily. Former smokers have the same stroke risk as nonsmokers after 5 to 15 years.