What are the Different Forms of Tobacco?

WRITTEN BY: CancerCenter
Saturday, May 31st, 2014

Every year on May 31, the World Health Organization (WHO) highlights World No Tobacco Day. The goal of this initiative is to raise awareness about the health risks associated with tobacco use.

RELATED: How to Live Without Smoking

Tobacco is strongly linked to multiple types of cancer and other diseases. Although commonly associated with cigarettes, there are other forms that are just as harmful and should be avoided. Learn about the differences here:


cigaretteThe most commonly thought of product when you hear the word “smoking.” Cigarettes include tobacco leaves, nicotine, and many cancer-causing chemicals. The smoke from a cigarette is inhaled into the lungs.





CigarCigars are tightly rolled, cured tobacco leaves in a leaf wrapper. Although cigars are usually not inhaled into the lungs, they still contain harmful, cancer-causing ingredients. They can also lead to a nicotine addiction.




Electronic Cigarettes (e-cigarette)

e-cigaretteA newer product, this device is shaped like a cigarette, cigar, or pen and does not contain tobacco. E-cigarettes contain nicotine, flavoring, and other chemicals which may be harmful, and uses batteries to heat and create a vapor. The amount of nicotine in individual e-cigarettes varies, although no tobacco smoke is produced. It is not yet known whether e-cigarettes are safe.





HookahA hookah is used to smoke flavored tobacco, which contains nicotine and cancer-causing chemicals. It is heated, then cooled by passing through a bowl of water, and the smoke is then inhaled through a mouthpiece. It can lead to addiction, and is not safer than smoking cigarettes.





Chewing tobacco

chewing tobaccoThis comes in the form of loose tobacco leaves, plugs, or twists. It can come sweetened and flavored, and is placed in the mouth between the cheek and lower lip. It can also be chewed. Although it is commonly thought that chewing is not as harmful, like the others, it contains nicotine and cancer-causing chemicals, and can also cause other health problems.

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