Oral mucosal smokeless tobacco lesions among adolescents in the United States.J Dent Res 1997; 76(6):1277-86JD
The presence of oral smokeless tobacco lesions among adolescents may be an early indicator of increased risk for oral cancers. Data from the 1986-1987 National Survey of Oral Health in US School Children were used to examine the cross-sectional relationship between the use of tobacco and alcohol and the presence of white or whitish oral soft-tissue lesions. The sample included 17,027 schoolchildren (aged 12 to 17 years) who provided information on the use of snuff, chewing tobacco, cigarettes, and alcohol and who received oral clinical examinations. Smokeless tobacco lesions were detected in 1.5% of students (projects to about 300,000 nationally), including 2.9% of males and 0.1% of females. These lesions were more prevalent among whites (2.0%) than among African-Americans (0.2%) or Hispanics (0.8%). Modeling with multivariate logistic regression revealed that, among white males, current snuff use was the strongest correlate of lesions [odds ratio (OR) = 18.4; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 8.5-39.8], followed by current chewing tobacco use [OR = 2.5; 95% CI = 1.3-5.0]. Lesions were strongly associated with duration, monthly frequency, and daily minutes of use of snuff and chewing tobacco. These data suggest that snuff may be a stronger risk factor than chewing tobacco for smokeless tobacco lesions, but the use of either of these forms of oral tobacco exhibits a dose-response relationship with the occurrence of lesions. We found little evidence that the use of alcohol or cigarettes may increase the risk of smokeless tobacco lesions. Preventing smokeless tobacco lesions and their possible malignant transformation may be best accomplished among adolescents by preventing the use of snuff and chewing tobacco.