The harms of snuff and the benefits of quitting

Many smokers switch to snuff when aiming to quit smoking, because snuff is mistakenly considered even a healthy product. However, many people get the same amount of nicotine from snuff every day as a smoker who smokes a pack a day, and snuff can develop an even worse addiction than smoking. Thus, the harm of snuff can be even greater for the body

What are all the effects of snuffing on the body and why is it worth stopping the use of all tobacco products?

Men between the ages of 20 and 34 use snuff the most, and according to different Governments tobacco statistics, it is becoming more common all the time, especially among students. Today, snuff is very attractively marketed, and in Eu the illegal snuff trade flourishes among acquaintances, on the streets, in schools and on social media. The harms of snuff are not necessarily taken seriously at a young age, although even with short and irregular use, snuff causes changes in brain function, for example, when learning, concentration and memory are disturbed. Damage to the mouth, headache, stomach symptoms and nicotine addiction can also appear after even a small amount of use.

Snuff causes irreversible damage to oral health

A dentist recognizes a snorer at first glance at the mouth, because the harms of snuff are most evident there. The disadvantages of snuff are significant and it causes e.g. bad breath, discoloration, infections and lifelong receding gums. As the gums recede and erode, the roots of the teeth are exposed and exposed to decay. As a result of gingivitis, periodontitis usually occurs, i.e. a disease of the attachment tissue of the tooth, which can cause teeth to fall out.

One of the most common damage to the mouth of a snuffer is a snuff lesion, i.e. damage to the mucous membrane. The snuff lesion appears towards the upper lip, where the snuff is usually held. Due to its appearance, the lesion is also called elephant skin, as it causes a thickened and wrinkled, grayish or pale patch on the mucous membrane. Advanced mucosal lesions can be precursors of cancer.

There are thousands of chemicals that damage the body in a snuff bag

Snuff contains more than 2,500 chemicals, 28 of which cause cancer. It contains cadmium, lead, arsenic and radioactive polonium 210. Cadmium can cause osteomalacia, osteoporosis and bone fragility. In addition, it increases the risk of diseases of the cardiovascular system. Lead is harmful to humans even in small amounts and causes damage to the heart, kidneys, bones and central nervous system. Radioactive polonium 210 is a highly toxic substance produced in nuclear power plants – only a milligram-sized dose of it kills, and there is no treatment for polonium poisoning.

Possible cancers following snuff use include, for example:

  • oral cancer
  • pharyngeal cancer
  • nasal cancer
  • esophageal cancer
  • rectal cancer.

In addition, snuff increases the mortality rate of the most common cancer in men, i.e. prostate cancer. However, the effects of snuff on the development of various cancers are still not completely known data.

Snuff increases the risk of diabetes by up to 70 percent

Diabates, i.e. diabetes, refers to a group of different metabolic diseases that have a common factor of pancreatic dysfunction and elevated blood sugar. The risk of developing type 2 diabetes is 70 percent higher for those who use one or more snuff discs per day than for those who do not use it. Even smaller amounts, such as five or six snuffs per week, increase the risk by up to 40 percent.

Possible symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:

  • fatigue, irritability and depression
  • unexplained weight loss
  • increased urine output
  • dehydration of the body and an increased feeling of thirst
  • leg pain or changes in sensation
  • vision impairment
  • sensitivity to inflammation (especially yeast infections of the folds of the skin and tooth infections).

“Many young people underestimate the harm of snuff, because they don’t necessarily see an immediate adverse effect”

Type 2 diabetes is usually associated with metabolic syndrome, i.e. a weakened effect of insulin in the tissues, due to which blood sugar does not remain stable. Nicotine increases the risk of the syndrome. It manifests itself as waist obesity, fatty liver, and an increase in blood pressure and fat values. The goal of the treatment is to keep blood sugar as close to normal as possible and to prevent additional diseases through weight control, exercise and a healthy diet.

Possible sudden additional diseases of diabetes include too low or too high blood sugar and acid poisoning. Long-term additional diseases include diabetic eye disease, nerve disease and kidney disease. Diabetes doubles or quadruples the risk of developing various arterial diseases, such as heart blood clots, cerebrovascular disorders and leg blood circulation disorders. Type 2 diabetes often develops asymptomatically for years and only becomes apparent after an arterial disease has developed. In diabetics, oral infections are common and heal more slowly than usual, so using snuff makes maintaining oral health even more difficult.

Nicotine causes significant physical and psychological problems

Easing nicotine withdrawal symptoms is thought to be a benefit of using snuff

Nicotine is a stimulating and highly addictive substance. A snuff bag can contain several times the amount of it compared to a cigarette. When an addiction to nicotine is formed, its lack quickly begins to cause withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms can include, for example, headache, restlessness, nervousness and irritability. When the body receives nicotine again, withdrawal symptoms ease and snuff can be mistakenly thought to be good. The good effects always depend on the user and his state of mind at the time – for example, when nervous, nicotine calms down.

Nicotine addiction can develop in just a few weeks. With addiction and active use, tolerance also increases, and the body always needs a larger dose of nicotine. At some stage of addiction, the body requires nicotine so that the brain can function normally. This kind of strong addiction that messes up brain chemistry also exposes you to depression and various anxiety symptoms.

The nicotine concentration in the snuffer’s body remains high for a longer period of time compared to smokers. Nicotine therefore keeps the body in a constant state of stress – it constricts the blood vessels, increases the heart rate and raises the blood pressure, so the heart has to work harder. This can result in narrowing of the arteries and the development of heart failure or cerebral circulation disorder. Nicotine also doubles the risk of erectile dysfunction.

Nicotine impairs an athlete’s performance and increases the risk of injury

In the sports world, smoking is a rare sight. Cigarette smoke is known to make breathing more difficult and carbon monoxide to weaken the oxygen supply of muscles in the bloodstream. The use of snuff, on the other hand, is very common among hockey players, for example, and athletes can also believe that snuff improves concentration and sports performance. The truth is different – ​​snuff does not directly affect the lungs, but like cigarettes contains nicotine, which causes the blood vessels to constrict and the muscles do not receive oxygen and nutrients normally.

The heart rate range used by an athlete who uses nicotine is narrower than normal, so the effects of snuff are performance-decreasing. The disadvantages of snuff can also cause indirect problems that you could not even imagine. Snuff is known to increase the risk of injury, back pain, various muscle and joint strain injuries, and tendonitis. These injuries also heal more slowly than in athletes who do not use tobacco products.

Sniffing during pregnancy endangers the life of the unborn child

Sniffing an expectant mother can lead to the child being born prematurely, too small, or even dead. The risk of cleft lip and cleft palate is higher, and as a newborn the child may have respiratory arrest. Nicotine hinders the normal development of a child’s circulatory system, and children exposed to snuff already have higher blood pressure than others at the age of 5-6 and stiffening of the arterial blood vessel walls. It is absorbed into breast milk and remains there for up to 12 hours. Nicotine significantly increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, i.e. the sudden death of a healthy child. Sniffing during pregnancy is just as harmful as smoking.

Quitting snuff is a significant decision for the good of your health

People who have used snuff for a long time have the same serious diseases as smokers. Using snuff in itself exposes you to many diseases, and these diseases further expose you to new diseases. A large network of adverse effects is created, where the risks of different diseases multiply when connected to each other. Quitting all tobacco products is always a significant decision for your health.

Withdrawal symptoms last 3–4 weeks on average. Over time, the many positive effects of quitting only become more significant.

  • In the first days, the nicotine disappears from the body, the heartbeat stabilizes and the blood pressure decreases.
  • The breath is freshened and the senses of smell and taste are improved.
  • The circulatory organs work better, which improves physical performance and oxygen supply and speeds up recovery. Fitness and muscle strength are restored.
  • Withdrawal symptoms ease and stress decreases.
  • Tooth stains can fade over time.
  • Skin looks brighter. Its regeneration rate normalizes, so that various ulcers heal faster and the risk of inflammation decreases.
  • The body’s resistance increases.
  • Concentration and memory improve.
  • The quality of sleep improves and its quantity increases.
  • Money and the environment are saved.
  • In Finland, all selling, buying and passing on snuff is illegal. By quitting snuff, you are less likely to have broken the tobacco law.

Stopping snuff helps prevent many diseases and improves the treatment results of already existing diseases:

  • The risk of injury and stress injuries of muscles and joints is reduced.
  • Symptoms of depression and anxiety can be alleviated in up to six months.
  • Erectile dysfunction improves in every fourth quitter.
  • Fertility improves and stopping at the beginning of pregnancy prevents e.g. risk of fetal and infant diseases and death.
  • The risk of coronary artery disease and heart attack decreases.
  • The risk of cerebrovascular accident returns to the level of non-snuff users.
  • The risks of metabolic syndrome and diabetes return to the level of non-snuff users.
  • Already existing type 2 diabetes can be put into remission with lifestyle changes, which means a reduction or disappearance of the symptoms of the disease.
  • Treatment results for oral diseases improve, mucosal damage can disappear and the risk of oral cancer is halved in 5–10 years.
  • A cancer patient’s prognosis improves as treatments become more effective. The risk of recurrence of some cancers decreases.
  • The risk of death after heart attack and stroke decreases.

Read more about the harms of smoking and the benefits of quitting.