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Smokeless Tobacco

What is SmokelessTobacco?nci-vol-9836-72 infographic (002).gif

​Smokeless tobacco, also known as dip and chew, snuff, or chewing tobacco, comes in two forms. Chewing tobacco comes as loose leaves of tobacco, as plug tobacco (brick form), or in a twist form. Snuff is finely ground (powdered) tobacco that is sold moist, dry, or in tea bag-like pouches called sachets. But no matter what it’s called, smokeless tobacco is highly addictive and can harm your health. Here’s why:

  • Smokeless tobacco is still tobacco. Tobacco contains cancer-causing chemicals called nitrosamines.
  • Like cigarettes, smokeless tobacco also contains nicotine—an addictive drug. In fact, holding an average-size dip in the mouth for just 30 minutes can deliver as much nicotine as smoking three cigarettes. Nicotine addiction can make quitting difficult.
  • Smokeless tobacco may cause mouth cancer and other health problems.

If You Want to Quit…

Quitting smokeless tobacco is not easy. The most effective way to quit chewing tobacco is to have a quit date and a quitting plan. Successful quitters also include support teams in their plan— friends, family, and co-workers who can help during the difficult times when urges and temptations are strongest.

Health InformationSmokeless Tobacco and Cancer  

  • Smokeless Tobacco and Cancer  
    The NIH National Cancer Institute (NCI) has a fact sheet that answers common questions about smokeless tobacco, including how to get help quitting.
  • Smokeless Tobacco: Topics in Brief
    A description of smokeless tobacco products and who uses them from the NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse. 
  • Smokeless (Oral) Tobacco
    Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on smokeless tobacco products, such as chewing tobacco and snuff.
  • MedlinePlus: Smokeless Tobacco
    The NIH National Library of Medicine's compilation of links to government, professional and non-profit/voluntary organizations with information on smokeless tobacco. 
  • BeTobaccoFree.gov
    A website with information from Health and Human Services divisions about tobacco (including smokeless tobacco), its health effects, and quitting.

Related Oral Health Topics

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This page last updated: October 12, 2016