Presented in a Q&A format, ‘Tell Me About: Smokeless Tobacco’ contains information about the effects of smokeless tobacco, particularly addressing its relationship with mouth cancer.
The leaflet also explains the health benefits of giving up smokeless tobacco, as well as offering advice on how to quit.
Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, says more work needs to be done to improve education around of smokeless tobacco, especially in South East Asian communities and believes dental professionals are in the ideal position to communicate the key messages.
Dr Carter said: 'There is currently a lot of on-going confusion about the risks of smokeless tobacco, which is particularly worrying given the number of people, mainly those in ethnic minority groups, who use it.
'That is why we have produced an information leaflet specially focussing on smokeless tobacco – what it is, what it is made of, and why it is so dangerous. The leaflet can be displayed in waiting rooms, or handed out to patients who might be at risk. It is written using non-technical language and has been awarded the Plain English 'approved' logo, which is a guarantee that the language is straightforward and easy to understand by the general public.
'We encourage all dental practices, particularly those with high ethnic minority patients, to stock this leaflet and help eliminate one of mouth cancers growing risk factors.'
A recent evaluation has confirmed that the areca nut, a principle ingredient in some forms of smokeless tobacco, is carcinogenic to humans and the risk of oral cancer is significantly increased, on occasion by up to five times.
‘Tell Me About: Smokeless Tobacco’ has been released in the run up to Mouth Cancer Action Month, which begins on 1 November. Priya Patel, a dental practitioner at Village Dental Practice based in Stevenage in Herts, and Saman Warnakulasuriya, Professor at King's College London, both contributed to material in the leaflet.
‘Tell Me About: Smokeless Tobacco’ is freely available to view online while printed versions can be purchased in packs of 100 from the Foundation’s shop.