Smokers can greatly cut down the risk of disease and death by replacing cigarettes with their smokeless version.
They provide a much safer alternative to smokers, because they continue to deliver nicotine without the harmful effect of smoking, says Brad Rodu, professor of medicine from the University of Louisville (UofL), who led the study.
'Quit or die' has been the brutal message delivered to 45 million American smokers -- and not following this contributes to 443,000 deaths per year, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adds Rodu.
While no tobacco product is completely safe, smokeless products have been shown to be 98 percent safer than cigarettes, according to a statement of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
In the UK, the Royal College of Physicians reported in 2002 that smokeless tobacco is up to 1,000 times less hazardous than smoking
"The risk of mouth cancer among smokeless tobacco users is extremely low, certainly lower than the risk of smoking-related diseases among smokers," Rodu said.
"For perspective, the death rate among automobile users is 11 per 100,000 according to a 2009 report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Compare those to the rate among smokers: more than 600 deaths per 100,000 every year," said Rodu.
These findings were presented at the annual meeting of the AAAS in Canada.