Smokeless (Spit) Tobacco

Smokeless Tobacco Products

Smokeless tobacco, sometimes referred to as “spit” or “chewing” tobacco, is a type of tobacco product that is place inside the mouth (referred to as a “wad”). This gives the user a continuous high from the nicotine. It is produced in many different forms with a variety of brands, and even different flavors to choose from.

Unfortunately smokeless tobacco use is growing as secondhand smoke in public is becoming socially unacceptable and restricted in some areas. New products that do not require the user to spit, and deceptive media campaigns have increased its appeal.

Types of Smokeless Tobacco

dark blue box Oral (moist) snuff also known as “dip” is a finely cut, processed tobacco, which the user places between the cheek and gum.
dark blue box Loose-leaf chewing tobacco is stripped and processed cigar-type tobacco leaves that are loosely packed to form small strips. It is often sold in a foil-lined pouch and usually treated with sugar or licorice.
dark blue box Plug chewing tobacco consists of small, oblong blocks of semi-soft chewing tobacco that often contain sweeteners and other flavoring agents.
dark blue box Nasal snuff is a fine tobacco powder that is sniffed into the nostrils. Flavorings may be added during fermentation, and perfumes may be added after grinding.
dark blue box Snus is popular in Sweden, but relatively new in the U.S. It is a small pouch of tobacco placed between the lip and gum that is both dry and “spit-free.” 1

For a printer friendly description go to the Smokeless Tobacco Products page at: .(PDF 26.1 KB)

Health Effects of Smokeless Tobacco

Smokeless tobacco use is a significant health risk and cause of disease. Despite claims to the contrary, it is NOT a safe alternative to smoking or method of quitting.2 View health effects.

Current Trends

As U.S. smoking rates decline, smokeless tobacco use is on the rise. According to the Federal Trade Commission, the number of cigarettes sold or given away has dropped from 402.2 billion in 2001 to 354.6 billion in 2005 ; the number of pounds of smokeless tobacco sold increased from 112.19 million in 2001 to 116.2 million in 2005. View use rates and groups at most risk.

Advertising and Marketing Tactics

Despite MSA (Master Settlement Agreement) restrictions on youth advertising, smokeless tobacco products continue to be tailored and aggressively marketed towards youth. Among all high school seniors who have ever used smokeless tobacco, almost 75% began by the ninth grade.1 More about Advertising and Marketing Tactics...

The History of Smokeless Tobacco

As far back as 1 BCE (Before Common Era) the tobacco plant was discovered by American inhabitants. In the 1970’s spit tobacco began to slowly shift from a product primarily used by older men to one used predominantly by young men and boys.  Presently, 3% of adults and 8% of high school students in the U.S. are current spit tobacco users.

For more detailed historical information go to the History of Smokeless Tobacco information page at:  (PDF 14KB)

Other Useful Smokeless Tobacco Links

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How to Quit

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1. Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. “Smokeless Tobacco & Kids.” 3 October 2007.
2 Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. “Smokeless Tobacco in the US.” 4 October 2007.
3 The Bacchus Network. “Top Facts: Spit Tobacco.” November 2006. 4 October 2007.
4 National Cancer Institute. “Smokeless Tobacco & Cancer: Q&A.” 30 May 2003. U.S. National Institutes of Health. 4 October 2007.
5 National Spit Tobacco Education Program. “Spit Tobacco Facts.” Oral Health America. 4 October 2007.
6 Federal Trade Commission. “Cigarette Report for 2004 and 2005.” 2007. 9 October 2007.
7 Federal Trade Commission. “Smokeless Tobacco Report for the years 2002-2005.” 2007. 9 October 2007.
8 Centers for Disease Control. State Tobacco Activities Tracking and Evaluation System. Department of Health and Human Services. 13 May 2007.
9 Centers for Disease Control. “Fact Sheet: Smokeless Tobacco.” April 2007. Department of Health and Human Services. 9 October 2007.
10 American Legacy Foundation. “Beyond Cigarettes: The Use of Other Tobacco Products.” March 2005. 1 June 2007.
11 Campaign For Tobacco Free Kids. “The US isn’t Sweden.” 15 October 2007.

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