A. The most noticeable side effects are stained teeth and poor dental
health. Although these are not usually life threatening, dental problems are
painful, expensive, and may hurt your social life. Chewing tobacco and snuff
can turn your teeth yellowish-brown and give you bad breath. They can also make
your gums bleed and create sores on your gums and inside your mouth that refuse
The most serious health risk associated with smokeless tobacco is cancer.
Smokeless tobacco products contain at least 28 cancer-causing chemicals. Over
time, these chemicals increase your risk of cancers in the mouth and throat. If
you use smokeless tobacco, talk to your doctor about checking for any
While tobacco use is the most preventable cause of death in the United
States, more than 400,000 people die prematurely each year because of tobacco
use. If you have thought about using smokeless tobacco or any other tobacco
product, think again. Any tobacco use is dangerous and unhealthy, especially
Q. How Can I Quit Using Smokeless Tobacco?
A. Just like any other tobacco product, chewing tobacco or snuff can
be hard to quit. Only 6% of tobacco users are able to stop for more than a
month. Many people try to quit over and over again. Don't despair! There are
ways to help you stop. Nicotine replacement, behavioral therapy, and
prescription medicines are proven to help tobacco users quit.
Nicotine gum, patches, inhalers, and lozenges are all different kinds of
nicotine replacement. They work by giving you nicotine without having to use
chewing tobacco or snuff. Even though they contain nicotine, they do not have
all the cancer-causing chemicals as chewing tobacco and snuff. They can also
help you quit by reducing cravings and discomfort. The nicotine patch has been
specifically shown to work. If you are under 18, you need to get your doctor's
or parent's permission to use nicotine replacements.
Behavioral therapy consists of visiting a therapist who will help you find
the best strategy to quit. He or she will help you come up with ways to get
through strong cravings and provide emotional support when you need it.