Snuff Might Not Be A Safer Alternative to Smoking After All

In Education

While the FDA acknowledges that snuff may be a safer alternative to smoking to the likelihood of developing lung cancer, the claim may be false. Snuff is a smokeless tobacco that has not received as much media attention as cigarettes or e-cigarettes.

The claim about snuff’s safety is still uncertain

Recently, the FDA permitted a particular snuff brand to advertise its products as possessing a significant health benefit compared to smoking. The validity of this claim and the safety of using snuff remains uncertain.

Snuff is a finely ground tobacco available in two types, moist and dry. Moist snuff is placed between the lips or cheek and gum, and users must spit out or swallow the juice that accumulates. The recent FDA action applies to a brand of moist snuff. Dry snuff is snorted through the nose and is less common in the US. Both types come in various flavours and scents, and individuals absorb nicotine through the lining of the mouth. Nicotine levels are similar between smokers and snuff users, but nicotine stays in the blood longer for snuff users.

Around 5.7 million US adults use smokeless tobacco products, about 2% of the adult population and 1.6% of high school students. Smokeless tobacco is popular because it’s allowed in places where smoking is prohibited, is cheaper than cigarettes, doesn’t require inhaling smoke into the lungs, is safer regarding lung cancer, and may help cigarette smokers quit.

Snuff has health risks

Snuff carries health risks such as increased chances of mouth, oesophagus, pancreas cancer, heart disease, stroke, dental problems, premature birth, and stillbirth. Nicotine addiction can develop easily with tobacco use, and quitting is hard. Additionally, snuff can cause bad breath and require spitting.

Switching from smoking to snuff may reduce smoking-related lung cancer and secondhand smoke harm. However, the marketing message may also attract nonsmokers and teenagers, who can increase the market for snuff products and health risks. The FDA has approved the new marketing message for five years, during which the company must monitor its impact.

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