Smokeless Tobacco, is it Harmless?

Smokeless Tobacco….

If Your Loved Ones are Chewing Tobacco or Vaping, They May Be in Grave Danger

We all know smoking is bad for health. But what about alternatives like chewing tobacco and vaping? When it comes to oral cancer, you should know that your loved ones are equally at risk if they’re chewing or vaping.

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The Oral Cancer Foundation says that one person in the US dies every hour from oral cancer. Catching oral cancer early on is a must to prevent progression of the disease.

In the last several years, smoking has come under the public eye as a common and detrimental habit to one’s health. Many believe that smokeless tobacco, or chewing tobacco, is a safe alternative to smoking. Smokeless tobacco is still highly correlated with oral cancer, even though it doesn’t lead to lung cancer like smoking.

Sometimes called chew, snuff, dip, or spit tobacco, chewing tobacco is incredibly harmful to a person’s oral and overall health. This habit is costly, and you should re-evaluate it immediately.

April is Oral Cancer Awareness month. At Nebraska Family Dentistry, we value the overall health of our community, which is why we wanted to spotlight the dangers of tobacco in all forms.

The Story of Bill Tuttle

Late Minnesota Twins centerfielder Bill Tuttle was notorious for chewing tobacco throughout his career. Nearly every one of Tuttle’s baseball cards depicts him with a lump of tobacco in his cheek. As a result, Tuttle was diagnosed with oral cancer at age 64.

After being diagnosed, Tuttle underwent several surgeries which sought to remove cancer. After being deconstructed and reconstructed multiple times, Tuttle’s face became severely disfigured, even losing the ability to talk as a result. In the final years of his life, Tuttle dedicated himself to raising awareness about the dangers of oral cancer and its link to chewing tobacco.

Smokeless Tobacco as a Corporate Success

While smoking has caught a lot of criticism for being linked to cancer, chewing tobacco quickly became an alternate marketing success for tobacco companies. When smoking became a taboo, tobacco companies were quick to feed off the negativity. By marketing a tobacco product that was, “safer,” they could still sell a multitude of tobacco products. Ultimately, this allowed tobacco companies to survive through the media’s sharp condemnation of smoking.

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The Effects of Chewing Tobacco

In our offices, we see people who chew tobacco quite often. It doesn’t only cause oral cancer either – it also causes gingivitis, receding gums, tooth decay, worn-down teeth, and a handful of other oral issues. It slowly deteriorates the health of a person’s mouth.

Chewing tobacco is also highly addictive, containing much more nicotine than cigarettes. It isn’t hard for new users to find their way into addiction. If your loved ones are just starting out on chewing tobacco, know that it’s never too early to intervene.

FAQ About E-Cigarettes or Vaping

  1. Is there tobacco involved in vaping? E-Cigarettes do not have tobacco, but the FDA considers them a tobacco product still.
  2. What about nicotine? Yes. E-Cigarettes contain significant amounts of nicotine. Sometimes they even have more nicotine than traditional cigarettes.
  3. Are E-Cigarettes safer than smoking?Not exactly. Vapes contain a lot of other chemicals that people should not inhale. Many of these chemicals are toxic to our respiratory systems and our overall health. Since they are unregulated by the FDA, companies can also put anything they want in E-Cigarettes and vapor to make them cheaper. They also have a severely negative impact on oral health, in many of the same ways chewing tobacco is harmful.
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Concerned About a Loved One Who Smokes, Chews or Vapes?

If you know someone who is smoking, chewing or vaping, it may be time to have a conversation with them about their habit. We understand this can be difficult, so we’ve prepared a short list of tips for going about this.

  1. Talk frequently about unrelated matters. While it’s important to step in and help your loved ones see the dangers in their habit, it’s also necessary to have a good, pre-existing relationship with them. Spend time asking about daily life, and it will be easier to talk to them about serious concerns.
  2. Prepare resources before talking to them. Being able to offer them solution-oriented concern goes a long way. Be prepared to discuss the facts with them, and then direct them to resources that can help them quit. A few quick Google searches will be of great help.
  3. 3. Don’t be afraid, to be honest.Tell your loved one how you feel and from a place of loving concern. Let them know your honest concerns, and emphasize how much you care about them.

How Nebraska Family Dentistry Can Help

We value our community and want you to know that your health matters. If you’re having trouble kicking an addiction or being honest with a loved one, give us a call at one of our locations. Our dentists are happy to help talk you through the process. We’re also offering free oral cancer screenings at all of our locations on May 12th, so if you’re concerned, set up your appointment with us today.

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