All About Smokeless Tobacco Products

Chewing tobacco and other smokeless tobacco products are often promoted as safer than cigarettes because they aren't linked to lung cancer.

However, these products have some of the same risks as cigarettes. And smokeless tobacco has other risks as well. There are no harmless tobacco products.

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What is smokeless tobacco?
Smokeless tobacco products consist of tobacco that's chewed, sucked or sniffed, rather than smoked. Nicotine is absorbed through the tissues of the mouth and in some cases swallowed.

Many types of smokeless tobacco products are used around the world. In the U.S., the most popular include chewing tobacco, snuff, snus, and dissolvable tobacco products.

Chewing tobacco

Chewing tobacco is sold as loose leaves, braided leaves (called a twist), and compressed leaves (called a plug). It may be flavored. Chewing tobacco is placed between the cheek and gum. The saliva that builds up in the mouth is either spit out or swallowed. Chewing tobacco is also called chewing, spitting tobacco, or spit.


Snuff is finely ground tobacco that may be dry or moist. It's packaged in tins or pouches. It may be flavored. A pinch of snuff is placed along the gumline, either behind the lip or between the gum and cheek. Using snuff is also called dipping. Dry snuff can be snorted.