If you had hopes that chewing tobacco is a safe way to use tobacco, your optimism just went up in smoke.
Scientists have now identified a powerful carcinogen in smokeless tobacco called by the innocent-sounding designation (S)-NNN.
It’s long been known that smokeless tobacco users have an increased risk of getting oral, esophageal and pancreatic cancer. But now, scientists are beginning to understand the chemical nature of this threat.
“The most popular brands of smokeless tobacco that are sold in the U.S. have unacceptably high levels of this particular carcinogen,” warns lead author Stephen Hecht, Ph.D. “And smokeless tobacco is a known cause of oral cancer. Obviously, we need to decrease the levels of this material in all smokeless tobacco products — or eliminate it altogether.”