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Dip, chew, snuff, or snus – whatever nicotine nickname you use, smokeless tobacco is downright dangerous. And it’s far too common in South Dakota – 1 in 10 men say they use it most every day. Just how scary is this smoking “alternative?” To help set the record straight, we’re busting these 5 myths:

Mythbusters: Smokeless Tobacco Edition

Dip, chew, snuff, or snus – whatever nicotine nickname you use, smokeless tobacco is downright dangerous. And it’s far too common in South Dakota – 1 in 10 men say they use it most every day.

Just how scary is this smoking “alternative?” To help set the record straight, we’re busting these 5 myths:

• MYTH: IT’S SAFER THAN SMOKING TOBACCO.

Smokeless tobacco contains 28 cancer-causing agents. Users of smokeless tobacco are up to 50 TIMES more likely to get oral cancer than non-users.

• MYTH: BRUSHING AND FLOSSING OFFSET SMOKELESS TOBACCO USE.

There is no evidence that routine brushing and flossing will undo the harm that smokeless tobacco can do to your smile. In fact, the 28 carcinogenic chemicals contained in the chewing tobacco can actually alter the cells in your gum tissue.

• MYTH: IF YOU DON’T CHEW, IT DOESN’T COST YOU.

Non-users are still paying for users’ bad habits. In South Dakota, the annual cost of healthcare directly caused by tobacco use is $373,000,000.

• MYTH: IT LOOKS COOL.

Although smokeless tobacco users may think a wad in the lip and a faded ring on the jeans looks cool, the effects do not – like lesions in your mouth called snuff dipper’s keratosis, not to mention tooth decay and stained teeth. Very uncool.

• MYTH: ONLY OLDER GENERATIONS USE SMOKELESS TOBACCO.

Recent studies found more than 6% of South Dakota middle school students have tried smokeless tobacco, and nearly 12% of South Dakota high school students used it in the last 30 days. Help that number decrease—talk to your kids about the dangers of smokeless tobacco.

Don’t try it. Don’t start. And if you’re ready to quit, South Dakota’s QuitLine has the tools to help.