Does Chewing Tobacco Affect Your Lungs?
When you think about the long-term health consequences of using smokeless tobacco products like chew or dip, you probably envision oral health problems. From hairy tongue to mouth cancer - these are the most likely outcomes for habitual chewers.
But - does chewing tobacco affect your lungs?
The truth is that while chewing tobacco can wreak havoc on your oral health, that’s just the beginning of what it does to your body. The answer is yes - chewing tobacco does affect your lungs. But what exactly is it doing that should give you a reason to quit?
In this article, we’ll cover all the ways your chewing habit is compromising your lung health. We’ll also touch on a few other reasons to quit. And towards the end, we’ll point you toward a chewing tobacco alternative that can help you kick the habit for good.
First, let’s get one thing clear: is chewing tobacco bad for your lungs, or are people making a bigger deal out of it than they should?
Does Chewing Tobacco Affect Your Lungs? The Suffocating Truth…
It may surprise you to learn that yes - chewing tobacco affects your lungs. You may have come here under the impression that it’s only the act of smoking cigarettes that can degrade your lung’s health and overall function. And while it’s certainly true that the impact smoking tobacco has on your lungs is more detrimental than chewing tobacco, it would be inaccurate to say there is no relationship at all.
Think about it like this - the chewing tobacco starts in your mouth and you may even do your best to spit it out and prevent any from getting down your esophagus. Even still, some of that chew makes its way into the rest of your body. And therein lies the problem.
Below, we’ll progress this conversation further and discuss how exactly chewing tobacco can harm your lungs.
How Does Chewing Tobacco Affect Your Lungs?
There are actually five different ways in which chewing tobacco affects your lungs. And you guessed it: all of them are ugly. Let’s start with the first telltale sign that your chewing habit has started to take a toll on your lungs: decreased lung function.
Reduced Lung Function
Your lungs are your body's workhorses, supplying your organs with oxygen and getting rid of carbon dioxide. And they’re really only designed to filter one thing: air.
But when you chew tobacco, you're introducing all sorts of impurities and toxins to two of your most sensitive, vital organs. With a prolonged chewing habit, you’re damaging the delicate tissues of your lungs, causing inflammation, and reducing lung function.
You’ll start to feel this sooner than you may expect. For no apparent reason, you’ll feel out of breath, wheezy, and tired all the time. You might even need to use supplemental oxygen just to get through the day. And let's not forget the long-term effects of reduced lung function - they can be devastating, leading to a lower quality of life and even premature death.
And eventually, this can manifest itself in a more serious condition like chronic bronchitis.
Chronic bronchitis is a condition that irritates the airways and causes excessive mucus production. Imagine coughing up phlegm all day long, struggling to breathe, and feeling like there's a weight on your chest. Sounds pretty miserable, right? It is - and you don’t have to take our word for it. Ask any previous chewer or dipper and they’ll tell you firsthand.
And while chronic bronchitis sucks, it’s just one of the ways in which your lung health deteriorates as a result of your habit. If you don't quit, chronic bronchitis can lead to permanent lung damage, making it harder and harder to catch your breath. You’ll feel winded walking from one room to another - and say goodbye to any sort of athletic ability.
But, chronic bronchitis pales in comparison to the real risk at hand: the big C.
If you thought lung cancer only happens to smokers who light up, think again. The fact of the matter is that anyone can develop lung cancer without having a single cigarette. There are plenty of other stressors or toxins that can elevate your risk for this type of cancer - and one of them is chewing tobacco. It's actually a common misconception that chewing is better than smoking from a lung health standpoint.
As you’ve probably known for a while, chewing tobacco contains carcinogens that can enter your bloodstream. But what you may not have realized is that these carcinogens can travel to your lungs, increasing the risk of lung cancer.
Imagine the horror of receiving a diagnosis of lung cancer, knowing that it could have been prevented by making the decision to quit that nasty chewing habit way back when. Lung cancer is one of the most deadly forms of cancer - but the good news is you can decide right now to lower your risk by quitting for good.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
COPD stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease - a group of lung diseases that make it hard to breathe. And if you chew tobacco, you're putting yourself at risk of developing COPD.
Imagine feeling like you can't catch your breath, struggling to do everyday tasks like walking up the stairs or carrying groceries. And let's not forget the constant coughing and wheezing, the fatigue, and the inability to do the things you love. Is that quick little buzz that chew gives you really worth it?
Increased Risk of Respiratory Infections
Finally, chewing tobacco can weaken your immune system, making it harder for your body to fight off respiratory infections like pneumonia and bronchitis. You're more likely to get sick, and when you do, you'll suffer more severe symptoms and have a harder time recovering.
If you're someone who prides themselves on toughness and resilience, that's a hard pill to swallow. You end up missing important moments in life or having to call out of work and sacrifice income - just to satisfy your cravings.
And as you’ll discover below, lung-related problems are just one of the ways in which chewing tobacco will suck the life from your body and mind, leaving you physically and mentally broken.
The Lung-Related Problems are Just the Beginning for Smokeless Tobacco Users…
While you came here to discover exactly what your chewing tobacco habit is doing to your lungs, you should realize that the problem is far more widespread.
You obviously are at risk of developing gum disease or oral cancer. But, the danger can spread to your throat and esophagus too. We recently wrote an article discussing the chewing tobacco effects on your stomach - which we encourage you to read if you missed it, because it will likely scare you straight! And finally, dipping can affect your heart. All of these organs and systems are at risk because you chew tobacco. There’s even a risk of hair loss from chewing tobacco and a relationship between nicotine and acne!
And we haven’t even mentioned the effect this addiction can have on your mental health, either. From irritability and mood swings to fatigue, lack of energy, lack of appetite, and of course, wasted money on an awful addiction.
The point is, chewing tobacco doesn’t just put a strain on your lung health. It can affect your entire body and your mind as well.
The good news? All of this is avoidable. And it’s a lot simpler than you may think…
Don’t Let Your Chewing Tobacco Habit Wreak Havoc on Your Lungs - Grinds Can Help You Quit Quickly & Easily
At Grinds, we’ve seen firsthand the toll that nicotine addiction can take on just the addict - but those around them. So, we’ve made it our mission to create a safe, natural solution that can help you kick the habit for good. We’re excited to introduce you to our nicotine & tobacco-free chew - the key to unlocking a life without nicotine addiction!
Instead of nicotine, we’ve formulated our pouches with coffee. This means in every pouch, you get a potent serving of caffeine to mimic the nicotine buzz you’re constantly chasing. But in this case, there are no health risks or side effects of your habit. Just smooth, natural energy to help you get through the day and perform your best.
And, we’ve got the best flavors. Period. Whether you prefer the natural chew flavors like wintergreen or spearmint, you want to stick with some coffee-based flavors like mocha or espresso, or you want to try something really whacky and off-the-wall like caramel, cinnamon roll, orange citrus, etc. - you can try them all and find your new favorite.
And besides helping you kick the habit through our tobacco & nicotine-free pouches, we also have in-depth resources to assist you along this journey.
In our blog, you can learn how to stop chewing tobacco for good. We’ll teach you what happens when you quit dipping in our article on chewing tobacco withdrawal symptoms. And, you can learn about flushing nicotine out of your body fast. If you’ve replaced your addiction to chewing with an addiction to nicotine gum, don’t stress. We have a complete guide discussing how to handle this!
We’re here to help you regain control of your life by kissing this nasty addiction goodbye!
Final Thoughts on How Chewing Tobacco Affects Your Lungs
So, does chewing tobacco affect your lungs? Or more specifically, is chewing tobacco bad for your lungs? Yes, and yes. You now know the risk you take on each and every time you throw in a dip. It’s not just your oral health you sacrifice - but your lung health as well, along with a whole lot more. If you can’t breathe well…you’re going to have a hard time living!
At this point, there’s only one thing left to do - read our article on how to quit dipping cold turkey and grab your first can of Grinds caffeine dip. With our dip alternatives, your addiction to chewing doesn’t stand a chance. Take action today and make the habit a thing of the past. Your future self will thank you.