We’ve known about the dangers of tobacco for decades now, and smokeless tobacco is not exempt from this. Nicotine itself poses some danger – ensnaring you into the trap of nicotine addiction, but there are other major health risks as well, including risk for mouth, throat, cheek, gum, tongue and lip cancers as well as pancreatic cancer.
You also put yourself at major risk for dental problems such as tooth decay, cavities and gum disease. Smokeless tobacco can also increase your blood pressure and heart rate and can contribute to heart disease and stroke and you can develop leukoplakia inside of your mouth. Leukoplakia are lesions that can one day become cancerous.
But with all the dangers that are posed by smokeless tobacco, there are actually worse ingredients in the chewing gum that people use every day and consider to be quite healthy. When you chew a stick of gum, you could be giving yourself more than fresh breath – you could be putting yourself at risk for the same dangers that you face using smokeless tobacco – or worse.
What Ingredients make up “Gum Base?”
Gum base is a phrase that manufacturers use to hide some of the ingredients that goes into gum. Rather than listing what is in the gum, companies use gum base to hide behind, and the list of ingredients that make up “gum base” is rather disturbing. Gum base ingredients can be divided into five categories.
Elastomers, which are the main ingredient in gum and give it the elasticity, resins, which help to keep the gum together and make it soft, plasticizers to make the elastomers blend well, fillers, which provide texture and antioxidants, which keep the gum fresh.
What does this actually translate to though? Unfortunately, most gum companies guard their ingredients list fiercely, claiming it to be a trade secret, but based on the information that a few companies have released, gum base is often made up of: food grade rubber, glycerol ester of rosin, paraffin waxes, talc powder, calcium carbonate and polyvinyl acetates. Some of these ingredients are exceedingly dangerous.
- Glycerol ester of rosin: Used to create quick-drying varnishes in industrial settings. Has a high rate of allergic reaction prompting government regulation.
- Talc powder: Talc is related to ovarian cancer, lung cancer and other illnesses with just exposure to the skin. Talcum powder has been banned from being used on children and the only other edible substance you can find it in is very toxic diet pills.
- Polyvinyl acetate: PVA is often referred to as “carpenter’s glue.” It is not a good thing to be ingesting.
- Aspartame: Aspartame could be the cause of health problems that run the gamut from seizures to heart problems and brain cancer.
- Sugar Free & Natural Gum: Sugar free gum may be even more harmful to you than the ingredients in regular gum, but there is an alternative. Natural gum, made from the Chicle Tree, is harmless. In the past, all chewing gum was made from this substance, but it became cheaper to manufacture it with the harmful ingredients listed instead.
- Sodium Stearate
- Calcium Casein Peptone-Calcium Phosphate
- Titanium Dioxide
- Gum base