Chewing Tobacco and Smokeless Tobacco Injuries
By FindLaw Staff | Legally reviewed by Garrett Monteagudo, Esq. | Last reviewed December 09, 2022
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While cigarette smoking kills an estimated 443,000 people each year, thousands also suffer tobacco-related injuries from chewing tobacco, also called smokeless tobacco or "snuff". Tobacco use remains the single most preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the U.S., according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Smokeless tobacco may seem harmless because it has been used openly for decades by athletes, celebrities, and others. People who have lost loved ones from mouth cancer or other cancers caused by chewing tobacco would strongly disagree.
The fact remains that smokeless tobacco and chewing tobacco are potentially deadly tobacco products. The following discusses chewing tobacco and smokeless tobacco injuries.
Federal Warning Labels: Smokeless and Chewing Tobacco
Smokeless tobacco is so dangerous that federal law requires warnings on every package of chewing tobacco. The different warnings are direct about smoking and tobacco dangers.
Smokeless tobacco warnings include:
- WARNING: This Product May Cause Gum Disease And Tooth Loss
- WARNING: This Product May Cause Mouth Cancer
- WARNING: This Product Is Not A Safe Alternative To Cigarettes
The Dangers of Using Smokeless Tobacco and Chewing Tobacco
Like cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and hookah water pipes, smokeless tobacco that is chewed or in snuff form is known to increase a user's risk of getting cancer.
Chewing tobacco contains 28 carcinogens known to cause cancer. The nicotine contained in chewing tobacco, like that in cigarettes and cigars, is potent enough to create an addictive, chemical dependency, even for people who have never used tobacco on a first-hand basis.
Chewing tobacco users can face life-threatening injuries that include:
- Oral cancers of the mouth and throat
- Esophageal cancer
- Stomach cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Increased risks of getting cardiac diseases, heart attacks, and strokes
- Becoming addicted to nicotine
- Developing leukoplakia (white sores in the mouth that can become cancer)
- Receding gums
- Bone loss around the roots of the teeth
- Worn down their teeth from scratching and abrasion
- Lost and/or stained teeth
- Chronic bad breath
Pregnant women who use smokeless tobacco increase their risks for preeclampsia, premature birth, and having a baby with a dangerously low birth weight.
Medical Treatment for Injuries Caused by Chewing Tobacco
The financial cost of treating tobacco-related injuries from non-cigarette tobacco products, and ongoing healthcare costs for treating related injuries and conditions are staggering. Tobacco-related illnesses like cancer can be fatal, and only get progressively worse over time.
The costs associated with getting treatment, medication, and chronic care can be an enormous financial burden for chewing tobacco users and their families.
Physical injury is only one aspect of tobacco-related traumas. The mental impact that chewing tobacco victims may experience from cancers caused by smokeless tobacco products can be significant.
Smokeless Tobacco Class Actions
Many states have sued tobacco companies over smokeless chewing tobacco usage, advertising, and health effects on users.
If you use or have used smokeless or chewing tobacco products, you should contact an attorney near you to learn what rights you may have if your state has sued smokeless tobacco makers.
Some of these states include Massachusetts, California, Oklahoma, New Hampshire, Kansas, and Wyoming.
Chewing and Smokeless Tobacco Injuries - Your Legal Rights
If you or a loved one experienced tobacco-related injuries from chewing tobacco or smokeless tobacco, you may be entitled to compensation for current and future expenses, as well as special legal damages.
It is very important that you contact an attorney to learn about how state smokeless tobacco lawsuits may help, or not help, you or your family if you or someone close to you becomes a smokeless tobacco user.
Some of the legal factors that an attorney can review with you include:
- Whether you and your loved ones may be entitled to compensation for current and future medical treatment expenses;
- If you and your loved ones can recover lost wages from work, and other out-of-pocket expenses stemming from chewing tobacco or smokeless tobacco use; and
- Whether smokeless or chewing tobacco injuries may entitle you and your loved ones to recover damages for pain and suffering.
Smokeless and Chewing Tobacco Injuries - Getting Legal Help
Scores of product liability, wrongful death, and personal injury lawsuits were filed by cigarette smokers and their families against tobacco companies over the last three decades.
If you or a loved one has suffered an illness or injury that might be caused by smokeless or chewing tobacco, you should first contact your doctor or other healthcare professional.
You should also contact an experienced attorney to discuss your legal options and any potential rights to a legal remedy for any harm caused by the tobacco.
You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.
Contact a qualified product liability attorney to make sure your rights are protected.