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Tobacco Prevention Coalition
Health Department

Spit Tobacco


Also known as dip, snuff, chew or chewing tobacco, it is the fastest growing legal addiction and maybe the most deadly.

Types of Spit Tobacco


Oral (moist) snuff is a finely cut, processed tobacco, which the user places between the cheek and gum. The snuff releases nicotine which, in turn, is absorbed by the membranes of the mouth.

Dry snuff is a fine tobacco powder that is sniffed in through the nostrils.

Sachets are moist snuff packaged in ready-to-use pouches that resemble small tea bags.

Chewing tobacco

Loose-leaf chewing tobacco is stripped and processed cigar-type tobacco leaves that are loosely packed to form small strip. It is often sold in a foil-lined pouch and usually treated with sugar or licorice. 

Plug chewing tobacco consists of small, oblong blocks of semi-soft chewing tobacco that often contains sweeteners and other flavoring agents. 

Twist chewing tobacco is cured tobacco leaves (often flavored) twisted together to resemble rope.


Health Risks

Chewing tobacco and snuff contain 28 carcinogens (cancer-causing agents).The nicotine content in a can of dip or snuff is approximately 144 milligrams, which is equal to about 80 cigarettes. In other words, one can of snuff or dip equals about four packs of cigarettes. 

The Surgeon General has determined that the use of oral snuff can lead to:

  • oral cancer
  • gum disease
  • nicotine addiction
  • increased risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks

Constant exposure to tobacco juice causes cancer of the esophagus, pharynx, larynx, stomach and pancreas.

Furthermore, smokeless tobacco causes:

  • leukoplakia (white sores in the mouth that can become cancer)
  • receding gums (gums slowly shrink from around the teeth)
  • bone loss around the roots of the teeth
  • abrasion (scratching and wearing down) of teeth
  • tooth loss
  • stained teeth
  • bad breath