Nicotine stomatitis is a lesion that develops on the hard or soft palate of some smokers. It appears as white with raised red dots; the red areas represent inflamed ducts of the minor mucous glands. The surface usually has a rough texture, which makes the palate appear cooked. The appearance of the lesions may become more prominent as the condition persists.
The lesions are persistent, continuing as long as smoking persists. There are usually no symptoms associated with this condition, even when it is long-standing. If smoking is lessened significantly or discontinued, the lesions may disappear completely, depending on the extent of the tissue changes. Nicotine stomatitis is most common in men over 40 years of age. Pipe and cigar smokers develop nicotine stomatitis condition most frequently, but it also occurs in cigarette smokers. Nicotine stomatitis is often associated with the habit of holding the smoke in the mouth for extended periods of time as opposed to quickly exhaling it.
Although tobacco usage is unquestionably associated with cancer in some patients, there is no sound evidence of nicotine stomatitis being a pre-cancerous condition. However, for optimum oral as well as overall health, tobacco use of any kind should be avoided.