Some youth believe that spit tobacco (chew, snuff, dip) is safe. The truth is that spit tobacco contains nicotine, a highly addictive drug. It also has over 4,000 chemicals, including at least 30 that cause cancer. Spit tobacco contains substances such as formaldehyde (preservative of body tissues), arsenic (rat poison), nickel, and cadmium.
Some athletes use spit tobacco because they think it gives them a performance boost. This is not true. In fact, nicotine constricts the blood vessels, which can slow reaction time and cause dizziness. This is a disadvantage if you’re playing sports or working in a dangerous environment.
Spit tobacco does a lot of damage to the inside of your mouth. Leukoplakia (white leathery patches that can develop into cancer), worn and yellow teeth, lost teeth, cavities, receding gums, gum disease, and bad breath are all health consequences of using spit tobacco.
Worse yet, spit tobacco causes cancer of the mouth, throat, and voice box. The earlier you start and the longer you chew, the more at risk you are for cancer. On average, half of all people who get oral cancer die within 5 years.
Current as of: May 16, 2017
Author: Tobacco Reduction Program, Alberta Health Services
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