Quitting smoking can be extremely difficult. Fortunately, there are products on the market that can help you ditch the cigarettes for good by using nicotine replacement.
Unfortunately, many of these products are just as bad for you as smoking itself and can also cause a range of minor health ailments. During your journey of kicking the habit, it’s essential to know what is contained in nicotine replacement products so that you can quit without jeopardising your health at the same time.
Here is our rundown on the current options available on the market and their health impacts.
What happens if you swallow chewing tobacco?
Sometimes referred to as smokeless tobacco, this is an alternative method of consuming tobacco than smoking it. It can be made of ground or loose-leaf tobacco, and it is chewed in the mouth to release the nicotine that will control urges.
This product is not safe, and numerous studies have found the swallowing of the byproduct and nicotine to be linked to several diseases and infections. This ranges from lesions in the mouth to various cancers, including pancreatic oral and pharyngeal cancer. Let's look at these in more detail.
Similar to cigarettes, smokeless tobacco has high levels of additives, chemicals and other substances that are known carcinogens, increasing the risk of both mouth and throat cancer. Furthermore, it creates leathery white patches in the mouth that can turn into cancer.
Tooth browning, decay and mouth sores
The sugar in smokeless tobacco can cause tooth decay and, similar to cigarettes, it also creates brown staining to teeth. As the body is creating excess saliva, it can lead to dry mouth, creating sores and ulcers.
Poor gum health
As smokeless tobacco involves chewing and sugar, it can cause people’s gums to pull away from their teeth, which can lead to loose teeth.
The side effects of dip products
Commonly referred to as dip or chew, this product is made of shredded tobacco that's treated with additives and preservatives. The product is placed between the lip and the gum. The body then absorbs the nicotine. It is popular in the United States and sold legally in many areas, particularly in the south’s rural parts.
There are at least 30 different chemicals in dip that have been linked to cancer (including lead, arsenic and, as this report suggests, even uranium!) Also, dip often contains more nicotine than cigarettes. Dipping two cans a week gives you as much nicotine as smoking more than three packs of cigarettes per day for one week.
Ultimately, this product is just another form of chewing tobacco and has been proven to cause cancers. It can also induce a range of other infections and illnesses as well, whether swallowed or absorbed through the gums.
Is ingesting snuff harmful to your health?
You might think that using snuff isn’t as bad as smoking as you’re not breathing smoke into your lungs. However, snuff can still have a negative impact on your body.
Like other forms of tobacco, snuff contains carcinogenic chemicals. It can raise your risk of several types of cancer, including:
- nose and sinus cancers
- oral cancers
- pancreatic cancer
What about nicotine gum?
A safer way to replace nicotine and quit cigarettes is through the gum version, which is legal and widely available. It merely adds nicotine to the chewing gum mix so that as you chew it, it blends with your saliva and is absorbed by your body to help you manage cravings.
If you accidentally swallow nicotine gum, it can lead to a range of minor health complaints like hiccups, heartburn, dizziness, nausea or an upset stomach. The ideal way to consume it is by chewing the product and letting the saliva be absorbed through the mouth wall.
It is designed to be used for a short period to step down the amount of nicotine you are using and ultimately quit using the gum. There is some research that links nicotine gum to cancers though, which becomes amplified the more you use it or if you use it more often than recommended.
Vaping: not so safe?
In recent years electronic cigarettes or vapes have become extremely popular. These vapourise liquid (that can include nicotine) and allow you to "smoke" it as a fine mist, expelling it as steam that is the same as smoke.
They mimic the habit’s action and sensation and provide a true replacement that has proven popular with people not looking to quit smoking, but replace it with a healthier option.
However, the jury remains divided on whether vaping is healthier than smoking – or at all. There are ongoing research projects and studies, but the vape industry has taken big hits in recent years as people turn away from it in droves over claims it is just as bad for you as cigarettes, potentially worse.
Why nicotine pouches are a safer option
Our nicotine pouches offer a similar 'hit' that can ease your cravings by placing them between your cheek and gums so this ingredient can blend with your saliva and pass through your mouth and into your bloodstream.
What’s the difference between the V&YOU range of nicotine pouches and tobacco dips or chews, you ask? There is no tobacco in our products. These pouches are entirely smoke-free, and there is no spitting either. They are less likely to upset your stomach (when consumed appropriately), give you hiccups, stain your teeth or deliver any of the other side effects other replacement products cause.
For more information on tobacco products and their side effects, read this source for poison information.
What happens if I swallow nicotine pouches?
If you have swallowed a nicotine pouch, there's no reason to panic. Nicotine pouches are tobacco-free, and therefore, should not cause issues to your body (as might happen if you swallowed snus). In fact, less nicotine is actually absorbed into your bloodstream than if you had placed the pouch under your lip (that's due to what's called 'Bioavailability' - more on that here). Even our strongest &BOOST+ range of nicotine pouches doesn't have a high enough dose to do anything to your system.
Moreover, the ingredients in our pouches are non-toxic. In fact, the ingredients are a little like many common household recipes: water, salt, and food-grade fillers (as well as flavourings). The pouches themselves are made of plant-based cellulose too. However, we must say that our pouches are not intended to be digested, and therefore we recommend removing them from your lip after around 30 minutes.
In the unlikely event you do feel any discomfort or other issues, we'd recommend speaking with a non-emergency health helpline (like the NHS's 111 services).