Public health officials from 28 countries met last month in Sweden to present the latest research on smokeless tobacco. These products can cause various cancers and non-cancerous oral conditions, and can lead to nicotine addiction. U.S. government surveys have found that approximately 12 percent of U.S. male high school students are current users of smokeless tobacco, compared to 6 percent of men over 18. The levels fall to 1 percent for women of all ages. Dr. Cathy Backinger is from the National Cancer Institute and said this product can be quite addictive.
"Smokeless tobacco, just like any other tobacco, contains nicotine which is the addictive property in any tobacco product. In fact, nicotine is manipulated in smokeless tobacco products, so you know some of the more popular brands actually have higher nicotine levels than some of the less popular brands. And then as far as the cancer causing agents, there's the tobacco specific nitrosamines and those are also manipulated, so that some have a higher nitrosamine level than others."
This is Kelly Persinger, the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.