Tobacco chewing is a very common practice, especially in rural India. Various forms of smokeless tobacco include khaini, pan masala, gutkha, etc.. Tobacco chewing is as harmful as smoking cigarettes.
Easy availability of pan masala, and other flavoring agents with tobacco in attractive sachets or tins has enhanced the sale and use of smokeless tobacco.
Tobacco chewing is associated with serious health problems
- Tobacco contains many different chemicals called as carcinogens which can cause cancer. These chemicals increase the risk of oral cancer such as cancer of the mouth, throat, cheek, gums, lips or tongue.
- There’s also an increased risk of cancers of the pancreas and esophagus.
- It also causes precancerous lesions in the oral cavity
- Tobacco contains nicotine which is habit forming and very addictive. It also predisposes individuals who chew tobacco to start smoking which further increase their risk of developing other cancers.
- It causes gum decay , tooth decay and tooth loss
- Increased risk of heart disease
- Increased risk of stroke
- Increased risk of pre term delivery and still birth in pregnancy
Taking into consideration the long list of side effects, people should be determined not to indulge in this bad habit and those already chewing tobacco should quit it.
Various options are available for those wanting to quit tobacco which includes behavioral counseling and medications.