BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: Health
Front Page 
World 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Background Briefings 
Medical notes 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 
Friday, 5 May, 2000, 16:38 GMT 17:38 UK
Increased snuff cancer threat

'Smokeless' tobacco has become more popular
Snorting tobacco in the form of snuff is even more risky than previously thought, research suggests.

Although perhaps not as popular as it was in previous centuries, snuff has enjoyed something of a resurgence in some countries in recent years.

It has also been touted as a safer, and perhaps more socially acceptable, alternative to cigarette-smoking, and even an aid to quitting.

However, preliminary results from a team of researchers examining native American women who take snuff suggest that its carcinogenic effects may have been underestimated.

Although the numbers in the study are small, their analysis found an eightfold increase in the risk of developing breast cancer.

Dr John Spangler told a conference in Orlando, Florida: "This suggests that smokeless tobacco is not a safe alternative to cigarette smoking.

"Although smokeless tobacco use among women nationally is only 0.6%, 2.5% of women here in North Carolina use smokeless tobacco."

The women taking part in the survey were Cherokees living on tribal lands in Western North Carolina - they frequently use snuff.

Fashionable

Most people associate the practice of snuff-taking with older people, but it has been increasing among the young, although it is still tiny in comparison with cigarette smoking.

UK suppliers have suggested that young women are also taking snuff, which is produced by grinding up the tobacco into a fine powder.

Proponents of snuff suggest that it is the burning of tobacco in cigarettes and pipes which releases the carcinogens.

It has previously, however been associated with an increased risk of nasal cancer.

And at the moment it is not subject to additional treasury taxes like cigarettes are, making it substantially cheaper than the same amount of tobacco in cigarettes.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

01 Jun 99 | Health
Lung cancer breakthrough
08 Jul 99 | Health
Sweet tooth 'cure' for smoking
27 Aug 99 | Health
Cancer deaths fall in Europe
 | Medical notes
Lung Cancer
19 Nov 99 | Medical notes
Smoking
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to other Health stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Health stories