Pan Masala Vs Tobacco: Which is More Dangerous?

You might already know the difference between Pan Masala and Tobacco. Many people debate the harmful effects of Pan Masala. Since Pan Masala is marketed as a mouth freshener, people believe it is not harmful. It is true that Pan Masala doesn’t contain Tobacco or nicotine but is it harmful? Well, Pan Masala is made of slaked lime, beetle nut, catechu and other artificial flavourings. These are known to be dangerous even though they are not as harmful as Tobacco or Gutka. Let us first look at the harmful effects of Pan Masala, and then we will look at the harmful effects of Tobacco.

Harmful Effects of Pan Masala

As per much research, Pan Masala is known to be Genotoxic. Genotoxicity leads to the increase of chromatin aberration and chromatin exchange. The first harmful effect of Pan Masala on the body is that it leads to oral submucous fibrosis. This would eventually progress into oral cancer. In many experiments, it was noticed that Pan Masala also leads to lesions on the liver, stomach and lungs. Consumption of Pan Masala also impacts lipid and carbohydrate metabolism. It has also been established that Pan Masala is harmful to reproductive health & the effects are also shown on the urinary system.

Chemical Composition of Gutka

You have looked at the harmful effects of Pan Masala, but do you know what Gutka or smokeless tobacco products are made of? As per the chemical analysis of smokeless tobacco products, it has been observed that over 3000 different chemical components are present in chewing Tobacco. 28 out of these 3000 chemical components are known carcinogens. The worst among them is N-nitrosamines, also known as TSNA. This is present beyond the safe limits. Among other harmful chemicals, the presence of polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, metals, volatile aldehydes, lactones, radioactive polonium and urethane was also noticed. Some studies have also pointed towards the presence of lead, chromium, arsenic, cadmium and nickel in tobacco products.

Harmful Effects of Gutka or Tobacco


By going through the chemical composition of Tobacco, you would have understood that it is very harmful. In this section, we have listed some of the diseases that can be attributed to the consumption of Tobacco or Gutka. Check them out below.

  • Cancer – Tobacco leads to cancer in various forms. It is known to cause pre-malignant lesions, which often lead to cancer. The usage of Tobacco is often attributed to oral cancer, oesophageal cancer, stomach cancer, pancreatic cancer, throat cancer and renal cancer.
  • Mortality – The consumption of Tobacco is also linked to high mortality in humans. Any type of cancer increases mortality risk, mainly because of cancer prognosis. Death is usually very painful, depending on how the disease progresses.
  • Dental Health – The consumption of Tobacco also leads to poor dental health. It leads to diseases like inflammation, bleeding, tooth loss, staining and gingival recession.
  • Hypertension & Cardiovascular Health– Much research supports that Tobacco leads to hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases. In many cases, smokeless Tobacco has shown an increased risk of myocardial infarction.
  • Reproductive Health – As per some studies, Tobacco also impacts reproductive health. It is known to be a leading cause of infertility in men as it decreases sperm count and impacts sperm quality. In women, Tobacco is known to cause cervical lesions and birth complications.
  • Metabolic Disorder – Tobacco also messes with your metabolism. It is known to cause obesity, high cholesterol level and diabetes in the consumer.
  • Nervous Disorder – Many nervous system-related diseases are also observed in people who consume smokeless Tobacco. The main risk of consuming Tobacco is the risk of cerebrovascular stroke. These strokes are usually fatal or can leave you disabled for life.
  • Other Diseases – There aren’t enough studies, but Tobacco is known to have an impact on the respiratory system as well as on the gastrointestinal system.


To conclude, we can say that both Pan Masala and Tobacco are very harmful. This is the leading cause of oral cancer in humans. It also leads to other types of cancer. Tobacco contains more toxic chemicals and is certainly more harmful than Pan Masala, but that doesn’t make Pan Masala any safer. To preserve your life and health, you must immediately stop consumption of Pan Masala or Tobacco in any form. Pan Masala is not just a mouth freshener, as the presence of beetle nut and lime makes it toxic. If you need a mouth freshener, then you must make a switch to fennel seeds which have known scientific benefits.