Nicotine is the main ingredient in smokeless tobacco. The amount of nicotine in one dip, or chew, of spit tobacco can deliver up to 5 times the amount found in one cigarette. For example, a thirty-minute chew gives you the same amount of nicotine as three cigarettes and a two-can per week snuff dipper delivers the same nicotine as a 1 1/2 pack-a-day cigarette habit.
Nicotine is highly addictive, which means that spit tobacco users quickly find themselves physically and psychologically dependent on the drug.
A spit tobacco addict will suffer withdrawal when he or she tries to quit using because spit tobacco contains nicotine. The user will experience stress, irritability, sleep problems, cravings, appetite increase and stomach and intestinal disorders.
Spit tobacco contains 28 known carcinogens. A carcinogen is a substance that causes cancer. These include formaldehyde, nickel, polonium-210 and nitrosamines. Dip, or moist snuff, has the highest levels of nitrosamines - up to 100 times the level lawfully permitted in regulated products like bacon or beer.
Spit tobacco users are 50 times more likely than non-users to contract cancers of the cheek, gums and inner surface of the lips.
Consequently, spit tobacco users risk oral cancer every time they use. Spit tobacco can also cause other types of cancers. Ingredients in spit tobacco juice can induce cancers of the esophagus, larynx, stomach, pancreas, and prostate.
Users have a higher risk of heart disease, hypertension and heart attacks.
Spit tobacco contains high concentrations of salt, which contributes to high blood pressure.
Spit tobacco users are also at a high risk for cavities due to the amount of sugar added to spit tobacco products.