Smokeless tobacco in the U.S. - Statistics & Facts

Smokeless tobacco, also known as dip, 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. The term smokeless tobacco implies use of unburned tobacco in the finished products. A variety of smokeless tobacco products are available, for oral or nasal use. Products intended for oral use are sucked, chewed (dipped), gargled or applied to the gums or teeth, while fine tobacco mixtures are usually inhaled into the nostrils.

Smokeless tobacco is one of the most addictive and potent ways of consuming tobacco. Half a can (17 grams) of U.S.-style moist snuff contains 236 milligrams of nicotine; more than double daily nicotine consumption of the next potent tobacco product, Snus. In fact, holding an average-size dip in the mouth for just 30 minutes can deliver as much nicotine as smoking three cigarettes. It is estimated that 3.6 percent of U.S. adults between the ages of 18 and 34 years use smokeless tobacco products, the largest share of any age group.

Convenience stores are the most common place to purchase these products within the United States. In 2017, U.S. convenience stores generated approximately 6.6 billion U.S. dollars from chewing tobacco and snuff products; which amounted to about 1.35 billion units sold. The U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company, which is a subsidiary of Altria, is the biggest smokeless tobacco products producer in the United States. Some of their best known brands include Copenhagen, Skoal, and Red Seal. In 2017, the Copenhagen brand amassed sales of about 188 million U.S. dollars within U.S. convenience stores.

Quitting smokeless tobacco is not easy. The most effective way to quit these types of products 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.

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