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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Dangers of Smokeless Tobacco

It is probably fair to say that cigarette companies carry the weight of the entire tobacco industry; many health experts view cigarettes as public enemy number one. While there is no question that cigarettes can lead to a number of health problems (including over a dozen different types of cancer), it turns out that other forms of tobacco products may actually be just as dangerous.

New research suggests that people who use smokeless tobacco products have higher levels of nicotine in their systems, compared with cigarette smokers, TIME reports. Smokeless tobacco users were found to have more compounds that have been linked to cancer in their system, as well.

What’s most disturbing about the recent findings is the fact that some smokeless tobacco makers have been attempting to have their products re-certified as being a “modified risk.” Earlier this year the company Swedish Match, which makes tobacco ‘snus’ pouches, asked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to re-certify their products. The company argued that snus is less harmful than smoking.

The new research was conducted by the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and involved nearly 24,000 participants, according to the article. The researchers found that snus and chewing tobacco users had higher levels of tobacco-specific nitrosamines (compounds found to increase one’s risk of cancer), compared to cigarette users.

“Our results have shown that smokeless tobacco users have high levels of known harmful and addictive constituents and that in some cases these levels are higher than those observed among cigarette smokers. This finding is a cause of considerable concern for individual and public health,” the study authors wrote.

The findings were published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

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