The world in which we live is filled with many different types of people. There many different factors that make us all different from one another, for example; temperaments, characteristics, nature, and unique personality traits—all individuals tend to differ from one another in various ways. One major way we can distinguish people one person from another pertains more to the ways in which a person chooses to live, which includes lifestyle choices and daily habits.
All of us tend to have varying lifestyle habits. Some of them turn out to be good habits while others could be highly detrimental to our overall health & personality. One such damaging lifestyle habit practiced by individuals across the world is the habit of consuming tobacco in one form or the other. While one of the more common ways of tobacco consumption is through smoking cigarettes, another common way of using tobacco is through chewing it.
Both men and women around the world find this form of tobacco use highly addictive. While there is no exact date of origin of when the habit actually began, the habit of chewing tobacco has been a trend for many years. People from all corners of the Earth have practiced the habit of chewing tobacco and other related products since earlier ages.
With chewing tobacco, other significant forms of consuming tobacco on a daily basis include smoking tobacco through cigarettes or electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes or vaping), and pipes. Whatever the hype or latest trends may be on the different ways of consuming tobacco, all forms generally have some sort of damaging effects to the overall health and well-being of an individual.
Over the past two or three decades, the health risks of using tobacco in any form have been revealed to the world. Still, even after being aware of the fact that tobacco use could have some serious impacts on health and well-being, people around the world continue to use tobacco in one form or another due to the fact that this common lifestyle habit is highly their addictive.
Origins of Chewing Tobacco
Though the use of cigarettes and electronic cigarettes is seemingly on the rise in as of late, several people across the globe still prefer chewing raw tobacco. The habit of chewing tobacco is said to have been around since ancient times. The interesting history of the habit of chewing tobacco dates back to the times of the Native American people. As one study revealed, people in ancient times used to chew the raw, bitter leaves of tobacco plants and not what we know as tobacco today, which was mostly without any processing or refinement and was consumed raw for the purpose of extracting nicotine. It is unclear whether or not tobacco was used religious purposes or for addictive purposes.
With the arrival of the first colonists in the world, the habit of chewing tobacco spread worldwide. The colonists refined the existing process as the people of earlier times did not prefer the taste of raw tobacco leaves. The tobacco that was consumed by the native colonists of those generations was in the form of dried leaves. As such, additional sugar or spices were added to make it highly appetizing.
Gradually, the practice of chewing tobacco as a daily lifestyle habit soon spread around with more people including sportsmen and leading celebrities consuming tobacco through a variety of methods, which ultimately led to an even more widespread culture of consuming or chewing tobacco on a regular basis. In recent times, people have observed the rise in the consumption of snuff tobacco. This type of tobacco consumption is regarded as smokeless tobacco, instead of chewing tobacco. Snuff comes in the form of ground up tobacco leaves that individuals can sniff through their noses.
Negative Effects of Chewing Tobacco
While there is no denying the fact that apart from quenching one’s addiction to tobacco, the habit of chewing tobacco may not seem have any affirmative results on the overall health and well-being of an individual but it actually does. However, studies show that chewing tobacco is known to contain as many as 28 cancer-causing chemicals, known as “carcinogens” in medical terms. The major carcinogens contained in chewing tobacco are known to be tobacco-specific TSNAs (nitrosamines). Additionally, there are other cancer-causing chemicals found in chewing tobacco including cadmium, formaldehyde, benzo pyrene, acetaldehyde, arsenic, and nickel.
Nicotine is another major chemical found in most chewing tobaccos and even in snuff. This causes tobacco addiction and makes it highly difficult for any individual to easily quit using tobacco. As one becomes addicted to tobacco, it slowly eats away the health and well-being of the user. There are several people who switch to electronic cigarettes as an ideal alternative to chewing tobacco.
Chewing cigarettes or electronic cigarettes are designed to provide nicotine in the form of vapors to users without burning any real tobacco. However, even smokeless cigarettes or electronic cigarettes serve as a highly addictive substance due to the nicotine content contained in some vape juices and e-liquids. Additionally, the habit of smoking or chewing most substances is difficult for most people to break.
Potential Health Risks of Chewing Tobacco
There are several kinds of potential major health risks that an individual might face if he or she is addicted to consuming chewing tobacco. Regular users of chewing tobacco and snuff are at enhanced risks of particular types of cancer, specifically oral cancers such as in the gums, cheeks, tongue, in the floor or roof of the mouth, lips, and throat. Some medical research also reveals that chewing tobacco could lead to cancers of other body parts including pancreatic cancer, stomach cancer, esophageal cancer, as well as other possible cancers.
Facts Related to Chewing Tobacco You Must Know
In most regions around the world, smokeless tobacco comes in two significant types: Chewing tobacco and snuff. The terms chewing tobacco and spit tobacco are usually used for referring to smokeless tobacco.
Below are some additional facts about chewing tobacco that are worth noting:
- Chewing tobacco contains around 28 carcinogens while tobacco cigarettes tend to have over 70 carcinogen elements.
- Studies have revealed that chewing tobacco could lead to a number of gum-related diseases, leukoplakia, tooth decay along with other related health issues that could eventually end up causing cancer.
- The potential of premature delivery and stillbirth cases have substantially increased in the cases where the mother consumes smokeless or chewing tobacco during her pregnancy stages.
- Research has also revealed that individuals who consume chewing tobacco on a regular basis have higher concentrations of NNAL and serum cotinine than smokers. Chewing tobacco users also tend to have significant higher levels of lead in their blood stream leading to major health issues.
- Long-term consumers of chewing tobacco are usually at an increased risk of neck & head cancer.
Quitting Chewing Tobacco
Due to the major health risks and lifelong ailments often caused by the consumption of chewing tobacco on a regular basis, it is advised that individuals try to quit (or at least cut back) on this addictive habit as soon as possible. Not much good comes from chewing tobacco because of the effects it has been known to have on one’s health and overall well-being.
There are several potential alternatives available including the use of vaping and electronic cigarettes that a person should consider using to help them overcome the habit of consuming chewing tobacco. However, even vaping and e-cigarettes come with their own sets of harmful risks to overall health as some oils and juices also contain nicotine or its derivatives, therefore, making them highly addictive in nature.
Though there are fewer side effects of vaping in comparison to chewing tobacco, some of the possible symptoms might include constant coughing, sore throat, shortness of breath, and possibly other health symptoms. It might be best to consider trying alternatives such as vaping and e-cigarettes to help quit chewing tobacco as many users have seen some overall improvements in their heath with the use of electronic cigarettes because there are fewer chemicals in vape juices with some herbal options.