Troops Who See Combat More Likely to Chew Tobacco

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Smokeless tobacco

Members of the U.S. military who've deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan and seen combat there are more likely to take up chewing tobacco than those who haven't, according to a new study.

The ongoing Millennium Cohort Study found deployed service members who fought in combat were two-thirds to three-quarters more likely to start chewing tobacco than troops who weren't deployed.

Lead researcherDr. Eric D.A. Hermes told Reuters he believed stress played a role in the increase of smokeless tobacco use among deployed troops, along with post-traumatic stress disorder:

According to the Department of Defense, almost 20 percent of 18 to 24-year-old male U.S. troops use chewing tobacco. The National Cancer Institute reports the use of chewing tobacco is linked to several different types of cancer - including oral cancer, esophageal cancer, and pancreatic cancer.