Study: Switching to smokeless tobacco can save lives

A new study shows smokers who switch to smokeless tobacco could save their own life.

New insight

“Quit or die: That’s been the brutal message delivered to 45 million American smokers, and it has helped contribute to 443,000 deaths per year, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” Brad Rodu, D.D.S., professor of medicine at the University of Louisville said.

“The truth, however, is that total nicotine and tobacco abstinence is unattainable and unnecessary for many smokers.”

His work shows that smokers can greatly reduce their risk of disease and death by replacing smoking products with e-cigarettes or modern, spit-free smokeless tobacco. These products provide a much safer alternative for those smokers who are unable or unwilling to quit smoking because they continue to deliver nicotine without the harmful effect of smoking.

“Nicotine is addictive, but it is not the cause of any smoking-related disease. Like caffeine, nicotine can be used safely by consumers,” Rodu said.

Opponents say no tobacco product is safe, and point to increased risk of mouth cancers. However, Rodu says his research shows otherwise.

“The risk of mouth cancer among smokeless tobacco users is extremely low – certainly lower than the risk of smoking-related diseases among smokers,” he said. “The annual mortality rate among long-term dry snuff users is 12 deaths per 100,000 and the rate among users of more popular snus, moist snuff and chewing tobacco is much lower.”

Zyban can help people leave the habit behind

For those who want to kick the habit of smoking, there are quite a few options that can help with the cravings.  There are gums and patches, but one of the most recent medications generating talk is smokeless tobacco.

A new study shows patients using Zyban, an FDA approved treatment to help smokers quit, gained less weight than those who tried to quit cold turkey.   The Food and Drug Administration cleared the drug, which is a nicotine-free prescription, in 1997.

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