Health Risks Related to Smokeless Tobacco

Overview

Smokeless tobacco products are addictive. They are not risk-free alternatives to smoking. And they are harmful to your body. They can lead to:

  • White patches or red sores in your mouth, called leukoplakia. They can turn into mouth cancer (oral cancer) involving the lip, tongue, or cheek. In fact, you have a 50% greater risk of getting mouth cancer if you use smokeless tobacco, compared with people who don't use it.
  • An increased risk for pancreatic cancer.
  • Tooth loss and other dental problems.
  • Gum disease. Your gums may pull away from your teeth and not grow back.

Quitting smokeless tobacco has benefits you can see. Your mouth sores will slowly start to go away. Your gums will begin to look healthier. Seeing these changes may motivate you to stay tobacco-free.

Related Information

Credits

Current as of: November 8, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Michael F. Bierer MD - Internal Medicine, Addiction Medicine