September 14, 2010

Smokeless Tobacco: No Good for Helping Smokers Quit

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- If you're trying to kick a cigarette habit, using smokeless tobacco as an alternative isn't a good idea, according to a new policy statement released by the American Heart Association.

Researchers warn that smokeless tobacco products can increase the risk of addiction and the likelihood that someone will smoke again. These products, such as dry and moist snuff and chewing tobacco, can cause serious health problems as well. Researchers say they increase the risk of deadly heart attacks, strokes and certain cancers.  

"No tobacco product is safe to consume," Mariann Piano, Ph.D., lead writer of the statement and a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, was quoted as saying.

Authors of the statement also pointed out that a recent U.S. study found no reduction in smoking rates among people using smokeless tobacco products. They say nicotine replacement therapies, such as a nicotine gum or patch, are a safer solution. Studies have found no increased risk of heart attack or stroke among people who use nicotine replacement therapy.

According to the statement, smokeless tobacco products are becoming more common among teenage boys. In June, The Food and Drug Administration issued a final regulation related to the Tobacco Control Act that prohibits the sale of tobacco products to anyone younger than 18 years of age.

"Scientists and policy makers need to assess the effect of 'reduced risk' messages related to smokeless tobacco use on public perception, especially among smokers who might be trying to quit," Piano said.

SOURCE: Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, published online September 2010