Is Chewing Tobacco Worse than Smoking

by Sam Malone

It is widely known that smoking of tobacco results in many health problems, many of which can be life threatening. These health risks include absorption of toxins into the blood stream and addiction to nicotine, wherein the longer the smoking continues; the more difficult it is to give it up. The tar that is produced from cigarette smoke is a carcinogen which increases the risk of cancer. Nicotine also negatively affects the cholesterol levels in the body. In the course of time elevated cholesterol levels can lead to heart disease and even after giving up the habit, the effects can still linger. The supply of oxygen in the blood stream can also become affected by the presence of carbon monoxide contained in tar. Those who smoke also become vulnerable to throat, lung and mouth cancers. Prolonged smoking can also lead to chronic lung problems such as emphysema. Oral and dental damage can also occur due to the ill effects of smoking and fertility may also become hampered.

The chewing of tobacco is also a wide spread habit and it is often mistakenly seen as a healthier option to smoking. However there are several harmful effects of tobacco chewing such as addiction to nicotine and deterioration of dental health due to direct contact of the gums and teeth with nicotine. There is also a high sugar content in some tobacco products which can contribute to significant tooth decay and gum disease. Chewing tobacco leads to increased heart rate and blood pressure. Cholesterol levels can also increase as a result of this habit. Prolonged tobacco chewing can lead to the development of leukoplakia, which are white patches on the oral cavity. These affected areas may be pre-cancerous with a strong possibility of developing into cancer in course of time. Oral cancer is widespread in individuals who chew tobacco. The removal of these cancers can also lead to facial disfigurement.

Both smoking and chewing of tobacco carry with them many health risks. However many doctors are faced with the question of which is worse. This question often arises in cases where addicted individuals are encouraged to give up the habit. Both addictions can be detrimental to health as they increase the risk of cancer, lung damage and heart disease. As such a comparison cannot be made. Both chewing of tobacco and smoking of cigarettes are equally harmful to the health and since they are both as addictive, the same amount of will power is required to abstain from them.

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