Spit tobacco is a general term for any form of tobacco that is placed in the mouth. Some common terms are oral or moist snuff, loose leaf, or plug. Common brands are Copenhagen, Skoal, Grizzly and Kodiak.
Spit Tobacco Health Risks1,2
- Spit tobacco is not safer than cigarettes
- Spit tobacco contains 28 ingredients that have been proven to cause cancer of the mouth, esophagus, pharynx, larynx, stomach, and pancreas
- Spit tobacco causes leukoplakia, a disease of the mouth characterized by white patches and oral lesions on the cheeks, gums, and or tongue
- 60-78% of all users have oral lesions
- The amount of nicotine absorbed from spit tobacco is 3 to 4 times the amount delivered by a cigarette
- The nicotine content in a can of dip or snuff is approximately how much nicotine you would find in 80 cigarettes
- Nicotine is absorbed more slowly from spit tobacco than from cigarettes, but more nicotine per dose is absorbed from spit tobacco than from cigarettes
Snus (pronounced "snoose") is a finely ground form of moist tobacco product containing approximately 50% water. There are two main types of snus: loose or prepackaged pouches. The first type of snus is loose product, and requires the user to portion out the amount they will be using. The second and more commonly-used type in the U.S. is prepackaged in something similar to a teabag making it easier to use. The user then places the product between the gum and lip, and leaves in place for approximately 20 minutes. The user does not need to spit it out unlike traditional smokeless tobacco products. Snus originated in Sweden and has just recently made its way to the United States. Common brands in the United States are Camel Snus, Skoal Snus and Marlboro Snus. 1,3
Snus Health Risks
Snus is a fairly new product in the United States, more research needs to be done to determine the health effects of using it over a long period of time. However we do know that:
- Snus contains more nicotine than cigarettes, so it can even be more addictive.
- The negative health effects of snus may be similar to smokeless tobacco use because it's a product that is placed in the mouth. These risks include developing lesions in the mouth, gum recession and cancer of the mouth or tongue.
Dissolvable Tobacco Products
Dissolvable tobacco products slowly dissolve in the mouth, so no spitting is required. These products come in different forms including lozenges, orbs, sticks, and strips, and often looks like candy or small mints. Common brands are Camel, Marlboro and Skoal.
Dissolvable Tobacco Products Health Risks
- More research needs to be done to determine the health effects of their use over a long period of time.
- The negative health effects of dissolvables may be similar to smokeless tobacco use because it's a product that is placed in the mouth. These risks include developing lesions in the mouth, gum recession and cancer of the mouth or tongue.
There are a number of local resources that can assist you or someone you love in quitting tobacco. If you have tried to quit before, remember that quitting takes practice.
- Tobacco cessation opportunities in Washoe County.
- When you are ready to quit smokeless tobacco, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit: www.nevadatobaccoquitline.com
For more information visit:
1. National Cancer Institute. Smokeless Tobacco and Cancer.
2. Oral Health America, National Tobacco Spit Education Program. What You Need to Know – Spit Tobacco Facts.
3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking and Tobacco: Smokeless Tobacco Products and Marketing Fact Sheet.
GetHealthy@washoecounty.gov | 775-328-6160
Last modified on 09/22/2021