The Danger of Smokeless Tobacco Products

In a recent study completed by the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, researchers found that higher levels of cancer-causing chemicals in smokeless tobacco products led to greater exposure to certain carcinogens. The cancer-causing chemicals, called tobacco-specific nitrosamines, make up one of the most important groups of tobacco products, particularly cigarettes and tobacco dip.

According to professor Dorothy K. Hatsukami, one of the biggest dangers is a lack of consumer information.

“The majority of smokeless tobacco users in the United States are not aware of the levels of cancer-causing chemicals in their smokeless tobacco products or of the tremendous variability in the levels of these chemicals across brands sold in this country,” continued Hatsukami. “At a minimum, the FDA should provide smokeless tobacco consumers information about the different levels of cancer-causing chemicals in different brands of smokeless tobacco and, ideally, require levels of tobacco-specific nitrosamines be substantially reduced, if not eliminated, in all products. Levels of these chemicals in smokeless tobacco products could be readily reduced by changing manufacturing practices.”

One of the main ways to reduce your risk of a lung cancer diagnosis is to avoid tobacco products entirely, but if you do choose to use tobacco products, be careful to understand the full risk. For more information on how the study was completed, visit the American Association of Cancer Research.

This is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your health care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor.