WASHINGTON — A government panel issued one of the strongest warnings to date against smokeless tobacco today, saying use of snuff and chewing tobacco endangers health and increases the risk of mouth and throat cancer.
The panel of experts, convened by the National Institutes of Health, also warned that smokeless tobacco may cause gum recession and thicken white patches of gum tissue that can turn malignant.
The panel, made up of physicians, dentists, psychologists and a consumer specialist, was convened partly in response to alarm over increased use of smokeless tobacco among young people, primarily adolescent males.
The strongest evidence about the cancer link came from a North Carolina study. Women who used snuff were more than four times more likely to suffer oral cancer than were non-users.