How Bad Is Chewing Tobacco for You Really?

Chewing tobacco is one form of smokeless tobacco. Other types of smokeless tobacco include twist, snuff, shredded, snus, dissolvable tobacco, plug, etc. Chewing tobacco comes in twisted or shredded tobacco leaves that are put between the cheek and the gums. Although the nicotine contained in tobacco is absorbed more slowly, chewing tobacco is still not safe. How bad is chewing tobacco for you really? Chewing tobacco can make your body absorb 3 to 4 times more nicotine. Besides, the nicotine absorbed from chewing tobacco tends to remain longer in the bloodstream than that from smoking a cigarette. 

How Bad Is Chewing Tobacco for You?

Even though it might seem that chewing tobacco is safer than smoking it, when it comes to tobacco there is no safe way of using it. Chewing tobacco contains more than 30 cancerous substances that will have a negative impact on your body and overall health. A long-term use of chewing tobacco can cause serious health problems.

1.   Create Addiction

Yes, chewing tobacco is as addictive as smoking tobacco, because it also contains nicotine. If you want to stop using tobacco, you will find out that it is not that easy as you thought. Intense craving, irritability, depression or an increased appetite are common symptoms when you want to withdraw from chewing tobacco.

2.   Damage Teeth and Gums

How bad is chewing tobacco for you really? Well, it is quite bad as it damages your teeth, causing cavities and tooth decay. Sugar and other irritants can make your gums start to separate and pull away from your teeth in the areas where you put the chewing tobacco. Over time, it's common to develop gum disease.

3.   Increase Risk of Cancer

If you do use chewing tobacco or other forms of smokeless tobacco, you will have an increased risk for cancers of the mouth, cheeks, gums, lips, tongue, and throat. Pancreatic cancer is also possible.

4.   Damage Heart

Chewing tobacco increases the heart rate and blood pressure. Long-term use of chewing tobacco can increase your risk of certain types of heart diseases and stroke.

5.   Cause Precancerous Lesions in Mouth

How bad is chewing tobacco for you really? Yes, it is quite bad as it can even cause precancerous lesions in your mouth. Chewing tobacco increases your risk for leukoplakia, small white patch inside of the mouth, which is precancerous.

6.   Lead to Bad Breath

Every time you chew tobacco, the nicotine and tar will stay in your mouth causing bad breath. Regular flossing and brushing your teeth will help you solve the problem temporarily, but as soon as you chew tobacco, it starts all over again.

7.   Impact Pregnancy and Fertility

Chewing tobacco while pregnant will increase the risk of preeclampsia, low birth weight, and preterm birth. It will also affect the baby’s brain and the developmental process in uterus. Chewing tobacco will also increase the number of abnormal sperm cells and reduce the sperm count.

How to Stop Chewing Tobacco

Many people decide to stop chewing tobacco because of its effects on the health. However, quitting it is not an easy thing. The following steps may provide some help.

1.   Prepare Yourself to Stop Chewing Tobacco

  • Start reducing tobacco chewing

If you have decided to stop chewing tobacco, a good thing to do is to switch to a brand of chewing tobacco which contains less nicotine than the one you use regularly. Another option is to cut back the amount of chewed tobacco by half. Cold turkey is also an option which consists in completely stopping tobacco chewing immediately.

  • Choose healthier options

While attempting to quit chewing tobacco, a lot of people still have the need to have something in their mouth. A good thing is to choose healthier options like sunflower seeds, candies, sugarless gums, etc.

  • Set a deadline

It is very important to set a deadline to quit and mark it on your calendar.

  • Get medical help

How bad is chewing tobacco for you really? Well, your doctor can explain you the effects of tobacco on your body and health. Talk to your doctor every time you have difficulties while trying to stop chewing tobacco. A nicotine replacement therapy might be suggested by the doctor, consisting of nicotine patches and nicotine gums.

2.   Get Through the Tough First Week

Getting through the first week is not easy. Resisting the temptation is quite hard sometimes, but these tips will help you get through it easier.

  • Know when you are craving

Monitor your craving – write down the date, time and circumstances when you have the urge to chew tobacco. Filling a chart will help you know when you are most likely to crave for a tobacco, as well as what will trigger your craving mostly. 

  • Learn how to manage your withdrawal symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms are quite common such as insomnia, depression, and dizziness. Try to do something to get yourself distracted every time you are having withdrawal symptoms. Ask your friends and family for help too.

  • Eat fiber-rich foods

Fiber-rich foods will help you combat the weight gain problem that accompanies tobacco quitting. They can also fill you up, giving you the sense of satiety.

3.   Stick to the Second Week and Beyond

By the end of the second week, your withdrawal symptoms will subside. Once the second week is over, the goal is to prevent relapses.

  • Avoid your triggers

People tend to use tobacco in certain circumstances and occasions. A wise thing to do is to temporarily avoid places and friends that will make you want to chew tobacco again just until you are on a safe track and not quite vulnerable as in the first few weeks.

  • Be patient

Remember that it is not easy to stop chewing tobacco. Be patient with yourself and stick to your plan. The first two weeks are the hardest ones and as days go by, you will feel every day the less need to chew tobacco. Make sure not to buy chewed tobacco anymore.

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