Smokeless tobacco has made recent headlines with former MLB players citing their habitual use for their cancer diagnosis, including Tony Gwynn, who recently died after battling salivary gland cancer, and this week, Curt Schilling, who publicly announced his diagnosis of squamous cell carcinoma (cancer of the mouth). Both attributed their cancer to their 30+ years of chewing.
The percentage of adults using chew in Arizona has remained steady at just over 3% (about 17% of Arizonans smoke cigarettes). The “chew” rate is three times higher in rural AZ.
Smokeless tobacco isn’t safe. It affects the mouth and throat more directly than smoking, and is absorbed directly into the gums causing immediate as well as long-term damage. It increases a person’s chance of being diagnosed with oral, esophageal, pancreatic and stomach cancer. Smokeless tobacco users are four times more likely to develop oral cancer than non-users, and their risk for cancer of the cheek or gums increases 50-fold.
But there’s good news. The Arizona Smokers’ Helpline helps smokeless tobacco users too. Since a support system like ASHLine can make the difference for people who decide to stop using any form of tobacco, it’s important that chewers know that ASHLine coaches are here for them too. The ASHLine has almost twice the success rate of other quit lines nationally, and offers free telephone quit coaching at 1.800.55.66.222 and free online quit coaching services via WebQuit ™ at www.ASHLine.org.
I don’t know why some people still consider smokeless tobacco safe. It’s pity that we have lost such nice people, who were not only among the best in their game, but they were nice fellows, too. I know these days mass media pays more attention to the negative effects of smokeless tobacco but it seems like there is still a long way to go as many people are still ignoring the threat.
[…] Medical and Dental Societies (here) and the director of the Arizona Department of Health Services (here) gave it further credence. I don’t question Schilling’s belief that smokeless tobacco caused […]
I am somewhat surprised that you use the word “snus” in the headline, while your article does not mention it at all. You are writing about “smokeless tobacco”. At Wikipedia snus is described like this:
Snus (/ˈsnuːs/; Swedish pronunciation: [snʉːs]) is a moist powder tobacco product originating from a variant of dry snuff in early 18th century Sweden. It is placed under the lip for extended periods. Snus is not fermented and contains no added sugar. Although used similarly to American dipping tobacco, snus does not typically result in the need for spitting and, unlike naswar, snus is steam-pasteurized.
Local varieties of snus, growing in popularity in the United States, are seen as an alternative to smoking, chewing, and dipping tobacco. However, some believe US manufactured snus is different from Swedish snus and should not be called “snus”.
It is quite obvious that your are writing about American chewing tobacco which have hardly any similarity to snus what so ever.
I have been informed that Swedish snus entered the market in Arizona January 2013 and it is not very likely that the person you are writing about in your article have had access to Swedish snus in +30 years.
Swedish snus is produced under the quality standard Gothia tech. The use of snus has been the object of research for many years and more and more indicates that the connection between use of snus and cancer gets weaker by every new project. I believe that you might be aware of the fact that a Swedish manufacture has applied to FDA of having snus classified that a modified risk tobacco product. FDA is at the moment seeking public comments to that application. It is the first time FDA has accepted an application like that on a tobacco product.
It is expected that an official authority like yourselves gives accurate and reliable information to the public. Your information in this matter does not meet that requirement.