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Smokeless Tobacco - Not A Safer Alternative To Cigarettes Study Finds

Posted by Jane Akre
Monday, August 17, 2009 5:11 PM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: Smoking, Cigarettes, E-Cigarettes, Smokeless Tobacco, Snuff

Snuff has as many if not more chemicals than tobacco, yet is marketed to young users.

Chemicals Found In Smokeless Tobacco


IMAGE SOURCE: Wikimedia Commons/ can of snuff, General Snus portion / author: de: Benutzer:Tigerente

Not debatable – Smoking Kills.

E-cigarettes are the subject of some debate.

Now snuff and chewing tobacco users are receiving some bad news about safety. Just because they don’t burn and the user doesn’t inhale doesn’t make them safer than smoking, say researchers.

The University of Minnesota’s Masonic Cancer Center found that smokeless tobacco contains two dozen carcinogens that can lead to oral and pancreatic cancers. The study results were reported at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society in Washington, D.C.

The culprit, PAH, or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons which form from the incomplete burning of wood, fat in meat while grilling, and coal. Scientists had assumed since smokeless tobacco is not burned, the PAH wasn’t a problem.

Irina Stepanov, Ph.D., the study leader and a chemist with Masonic Cancer Center, says her research finds smokeless tobacco on the same level of major sources of exposure, UPI reports.

Snuff is reportedly contaminated with PAH during its manufacturing.

During the curing process, tobacco is put into direct contact with the smoke from smoldering hardwoods, which is a rich source of various PAHs, reports Science Daily.

Stepanov says the amount in a pinch of smokeless tobacco exposes the user to an equivalent amount of chemicals from the smoke of five cigarettes.

“This study once again clearly shows us that smokeless tobacco is not safe," says Stepanov.

Her team found a total of 28 carcinogens identified with smokeless tobacco and even more in snuff. In addition, snuff can lead to nicotine addiction similar to cigarette smoking.

Add that to the other hazards already known from nitrosamines and nicotine.

A report last month published in journal BMC Medicine, suggested that smokeless tobacco products do not increase your risk of cancer.

Marketed To The Young

Estimates are that the use of snuff has doubles since the 1980s. Young people are often the target of marketing in magazines such as Rolling Stone and Sports Illustrated.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found more than $100 million was spent on smokeless tobacco ads in 17 magazines from 1993 to 2002.

The CDC reported in a survey last year that eight percent of high school students had used smokeless tobacco in the last 30 days.

Stepanov and her team will next look at a range of smokeless tobacco brands to compare the PAH levels among them. #

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