Are advertisements responsible for the increased usage of smokeless tobacco among the youth? Advertising campaigns are generally aimed at young people in the age group of 18-35 years. They cater to their desires of being belonging to a unique group. Young people are the ones who are highly susceptible to such marketing tactics. This is because they, most of the time, feature entertainment, sports celebrities or idols promoting a company’s smokeless tobacco products. There are three primary reasons that that lead to the youth falling victims to this insidious habit. They are peer pressure, curiosity to try things that are new, and the person’s family history of tobacco and cigarette use. People belonging to families that use tobacco products are more prone to tobacco use and/or smokeless tobacco products experimentation activities. The risks associated with smokeless tobacco use are many in number.
Smokeless tobacco when used on a regular basis can damage the smoker’s teeth and gum lines. It will also lessen his ability to taste and smell. People who use smokeless tobacco products are, in fact, increasing their risks of developing oral cavity cancer and cancers of the pharynx, larynx and esophagus. In addition to that, the prolonged use of smokeless tobacco can cause a precancerous condition in the mouth also called as leukoplakia. This disease generally occurs on the lips or inside the cheek area. Leukoplakia is a white, leathery-looking patch which has the potential to result in cancer. The risk of cancer in soft oral tissues among long-term users is almost 50 times greater than that in non-users. About 88 percent of these tumours can be attributed to snuff. Those who are of the opinion that smokeless tobacco is safer than tobacco cigarette smoke should realize that they are only swapping one form of the same poisonous effects for another.
Other dangers from continuous smokeless tobacco use include the stages of gum recession that ultimately results in exposed teeth roots and an excessive sensitivity to things both hot and cold. Other harmful effects are tooth loss which occurs due to damages to the gum tissues, abrasion to the tooth enamel due to the presence of high levels of sand and grit contained in smokeless tobacco products and stuffs, and discolouration of the teeth apart from bad mouth odour. Actually, tooth decay is caused by the sugar that gets added to smokeless tobacco to improve its taste. There is also a possible decrease in the athletic performance as a result of the constriction of blood vessels caused by repeated nicotine use. Many people who get rid of their compulsive desire to use smokeless tobacco have seen that their blood pressure had normalized and their heart rates had gone down, dramatically.
Special flavouring agents are also added to these smokeless tobacco products to control the characteristic taste and aroma of a cigarette. These include different kinds of fruit extracts, menthol oils, variety spices, natural aromatic materials, and synthetic flavouring additives. The flavour can be controlled by a procedure called the ‘curing processes.’