Snus Nicotine Helps Smokeless Tobacco Users Quit, But Maintaining Abstinence May Require Additional Treatment
Smokeless Tobacco Warning: This Product May Cause Mouth Cancer
An estimated 9.6 million people in the United States used smokeless tobacco products – moist snuff and chewing tobacco – during 1998, according to the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse. More than 70 percent of these individuals had used smokeless tobacco during the month before they were surveyed.
People who are trying to quit using smokeless tobacco may benefit from a transdermal nicotine patch during the first critical months after stopping use, a NIDA-supported study suggests. Study participants treated with the nicotine patch experienced less severe withdrawal symptoms and lower levels of craving for nicotine and were significantly more likely to maintain short-term abstinence than users in a control group who were treated with an inactive patch. Treatment with nicotine-free mint snuff also reduced withdrawal symptoms and craving but had no effect on abstinence rates.
“These findings suggest that the nicotine patch can reduce the discomfort that people experience when quitting smokeless tobacco,” says Dr. Dorothy Hatsukami of the University of Minnesota School of Medicine, who conducted the study. “Knowing that withdrawal symptoms can be minimized may encourage more people to try to quit,” she says. While the study suggests that the nicotine patch may help patients achieve initial abstinence from smokeless tobacco, it remains unclear how the patch and other treatments should be used to sustain abstinence over the long term, she says.
Smokeless Tobacco Warning: This Product Is Not A Safe Alternative To Smoking
Most tobacco-related research has focused on cigarette smoking with its more extensive range of harmful consequences, Dr. Hatsukami says. “However, we also need to study smokeless tobacco use because it is not an insignificant problem by any means,” she says. Regular use of smokeless tobacco products may cause such problems as receding gums, tooth decay, mouth sores, precancerous lesions, and cancers of the mouth and throat. Smokeless tobacco users also may be at increased risk of heart disease and smoking cigarettes. Undesirable social consequences include bad breath, tobacco-stained teeth, and the need to spit tobacco juice. Learn about Snus Nicotine
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