As a class we have discussed in great detail the effects of smoking cigarettes. The negative effects of smoking cigarettes can be seen on the television and on social media almost everyday. This publicity is obviously a good thing for society, but it sparked a question in my head. Why is there no advertising against dipping tobacco. I have seen the negative effects of dipping tobacco first hand, as a close friend’s father developed mouth cancer after being a long time dipping tobacco user. Also, in my perspective, see dipping tobacco used just as frequently as cigarettes around the Penn State University Campus. All of this begged me to ask the question; is dipping tobacco any healthier than smoking cigarettes?
For those of you who do not know dipping tobacco is a substance(in the picture above) that you typically place between your gums and your lower lip. Through “dipping” the user experiences a relaxed feeling caused by the chemical release nicotine causes. People often think because dipping tobacco does not go any farther through their body than their mouth so it can not be nearly as harmful as cigarettes. That is not the case. Tobacco works very similarly to cigarettes in the aspect of addiction, since they both contain nicotine. However, the area people often do not consider is the various types of cancer that dipping tobacco can cause. As you probably know cigarettes can cause lung cancer, but dipping tobacco can cause mouth, gum, cheeks, and lip cancer. What causes the cancer is 30 chemicals that are recognized to be a cause of cancer. The chemical in any smokeless tobacco product that is the greatest cause of cancer to users is tobacco-specific nitrosamines which is also found in cigarettes.
Worldwide, around 250,000 people die per year due to smokeless tobacco; 62,000 of those cancer related. While around 480,000 people die per year due to smoking cigarettes in the United States alone; 41,000 of those cancer related.
This does not prove smokeless tobacco is more dangerous than cigarettes because it is hard to find accurate statistics as to how many users there are of each product each year. In fact about 25 percent of smokeless tobacco deaths are cancer related, while only about 8.5 percent of deaths due to cigarettes are cancer related. However, it is safe to say cigarettes are a greater concern to our national and global society. My hypothesis that dipping tobacco is just as harmful was derived from what I saw around me at a college campus, but that did not correlate with the rest of the world.