Are you addicted to smokeless tobacco products like plain chewable tobacco leaves, khaini, pan masala, zarda and gutka? Be warned, as researchers have identified several species of bacteria in these products that can increase the risk of cancer, lung infections, diarrhoea and vomiting.
The study found that these chewable tobacco products contains bacillus licheniformis and bacillus pumilus — bacteria species — that could potentially cause inflammation of the lungs, as well as many other opportunistic infections.
“Some species have been identified as causative agents in spice-related outbreaks of diarrhoea and vomiting. Additionally, they produce a mild toxin which, in large quantities could cause illness,” said Steven Foley, research microbiologist at the National Centre for Toxicological Research, US Food and Drug Administration.
Several species of bacillus, as well as some stapphylococcus epidermidis and staphylococcus hominis strains can reduce nitrates to nitrites that can potentially lead to cancer, Foley added.
In order to allow nicotine to pass into the bloodstream, individuals hold these products in their mouths and thus come in close contact with mucus membranes for extended periods of time that provides an opportunity for the user to be exposed to bacteria present in the product, the researchers said.
Additionally, users often have problems with gingivitis and other oral health issues that are caused by the smokeless tobacco products.
Source : Times of India