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Dipping tobacco, traditionally referred to as moist snuff, is a type of finely ground or shredded, moistened smokeless tobacco product. It is commonly and idiomatically known by various terms—most often as dip and sometimes as rub. It is used by placing a lump or "dip" of tobacco between the lip and the gum. The act of using it is called dipping, packing or more specifically packing a lip, or packing a lipper. Dip is colloquially called "chew", "snuff", "chaw", "daps", "baccer", "spit tobacco", or "mouth tobacco", among other terms; because of this, it is sometimes confused with other tobacco products—namely chewing tobacco or nasal/dry snuff.
Dipping tobacco is often referred to as smokeless tobacco. However, this may be a misnomer, as the phrase is something of an umbrella term that could refer to any type of tobacco product that does not require smoking in order for it to be used.
Dipping tobacco was initially introduced as a variation of the historically Swedish oral tobacco, snus, that was brought to the United States by Swedish immigrants in the early 19th century. In modern times, it is still largely relegated to the United States, where moist snuff is most popular among the blue-collar working class in the Southern and Western United States in particular North Carolina, Alabama, Virginia, California, Colorado, Georgia, and Tennessee. It is also widely used in certain parts of Canada.
Dipping tobacco is packaged in "tins", although they are not typically completely metal anymore. Dipping tobacco is also available in "rolls", "logs", or "sleeves", which is a package of 5 tins of tobacco, a similar concept to that of a carton of cigarettes. Ten tin rolls were also available in the past. Another package of dipping tobacco is the "tub", available in only select brands, notably Longhorn and Stoker's. Tubs contain the amount of tobacco in 12 tins and come with a tin for ease of use.
Before opening the can/tin of tobacco, users typically "pack" the tin, similar to how cigarette smokers pack a pack of cigarettes. This is done by placing one's thumb and index finger on the top and bottom of the tin, and then quickly turning the tin and flicking the wrist so that one's index finger taps the top of the tin.
Unlike snus, which is most often placed between the upper lip and gum, dip users or "dippers" tend to use the lower. Dipping in the upper lip is unusual, though when done, it is colloquially termed an "upper decker" or "top lip dip". The dip rests on the inside lining of the mouth for a period depending upon the user's preference—often 10 to 30 minutes. Nicotine and other alkaloids found in tobacco are absorbed sublabially by the inferior or superior labial arteries. Buccal and sublingual absorption may also occur.
Unlike snus, dip often causes the user to produce excess saliva during the act of dipping. This is typically expectorated onto the ground or in a container, because swallowing the saliva-tobacco mixture can cause irritation to the esophagus and induce nausea and vomiting. Smokeless tobacco is sometimes used in the workplace by employees, especially if the employer does not provide many cigarette breaks or if the employee is consistently using both hands during work (which doesn't provide opportunities for cigarette smoking). Smokeless tobacco is popular in many industrial areas where there is a safety risk in having an open flame, such as oil rigs or refineries.
Etymology and terminology
Dipping tobacco was first popularized and marketed as moist snuff in the 1800s. The term "snuff" in this context is an English cognate of the aforementioned "snus", from Swedish. Dipping tobacco's Scandinavian roots impart a noticeable legacy on modern American brands such as Copenhagen and Skoal (referring to the interlinguistic term skål, which in Norwegian, Danish and Swedish roughly translates to either "cheers", implying a toast, or "bowl").
The difference between cut sizes are the length of the strands of tobacco.
- Extra Long Cuts are a little bit longer than long cut and sits very comfortably in the mouth
- Long cuts are easiest to pack and keep comfortably in the mouth.
- Wide cuts are a new cut introduced by Grizzly in select markets.
- Mid cuts are comparable to small granules at about 1 mm cubed. Mid cuts are extremely rare; Grizzly 1900 and the original Copenhagen Black (discontinued) are the only Mid cuts that have made it to market.
- Fine cuts/snuffs are slightly larger than sand or coffee grounds.
- Pouches hold fine cut or snuff tobacco in a small, teabag-like pouch. They are less messy because the tobacco won't fall out of one's fingers and mouth. Dipping tobacco in pouches resemble snus "portions", but the difference between these two products lies in the way the tobacco is processed. Dipping tobacco (including pouched products) undergoes fermentation, whereas tobacco in snus is pasteurized. In addition to regular sized pouches, smaller sized pouches are also available in the Skoal brand.
- Ready Cut is a cut produced only by Skoal (introduced in 2012) which consists of a compressed cube of long cut. As it gets moist from saliva in the mouth, it automatically conforms to your mouth.
Dipping tobacco, like other tobacco products, contains nicotine, a stimulant and a relaxant. Effects include increased heart rate, an increase in systolic blood pressure, and an increase in adrenaline.
Dipping tobacco can cause fatal oral cancers, tooth and gum loss. Some cancers include the following: tongue cancer, lip cancer, cheek cancer, gum cancer, throat cancer, and cancer in the roof and floor of the mouth. In some cases it has been known to cause cancer within only a few years of use. Gruen Von Behrens, now a public speaker against the product, started using dipping tobacco at age 13 only to be diagnosed with mouth cancer at 17. He started noticing signs of cancer at age 16. However, more recent analysis has suggested that the oral cancer risk is not as high as previously believed.  It is worth noting that a study performed in 2002 found that there are 3.6 cases of oral cancer among 100,000 smokeless tobacco users each year (or 36 cases among a million users), the same rate seen in non-exposed men. The scientists who performed this study are now calling into question the previous discoveries of Von Behrens, feeling his results may have at the very least been skewed, and at the worst his scientific method flawed from the start.
Studies are inconclusive as to how significantly smokeless tobacco affects users' cardiovascular systems, but it has been studied that it may have more nicotine than cigarettes. One study states that, "Although the evidence is not conclusive, the adverse cardiovascular effects of smokeless tobacco use are less than those caused by smoking but are more than those found in non-users." Other studies also indicate that smokeless tobacco related cardiovascular risks are lower than that of smoked tobacco. One study states that smokeless tobacco use has a "positive effect on cardiovascular risk factors in young physically fit men." However, it is important to note that one Indian study from the state of Rajasthan states, "There is a significantly greater prevalence of multiple cardiovascular risk factors [sic] obesity, resting tachycardia, hypertension, high total and LDL cholesterol, and low HDL cholesterol, and electrocardiographic changes in tobacco users, chewing or smoking, as compared-to tobacco non-users. Chewing tobacco is associated with similar cardiovascular risk as smoking." This finding may bear on the possibility that smokeless tobacco in India is produced differently than in Western countries.[original research?]
Smokeless tobacco contains nicotine, which is the primary reinforcing agent.
According to European Union policy, Scandinavian or some American smokeless tobaccos (specifically snus) are at least 90% less hazardous than cigarette smoking. However, the habit is still addictive.
Taxation and restriction of smoking is causing more smokeless tobacco use as "substitution." There are active public health debates regarding risk-reduction for smokers and the reconsideration of smokeless tobacco risks. "...There is a substantial body of informed and independent opinion that sees the value of harm reduction strategies based on smokeless tobacco." Most of these studies are supported by the makers of smokeless tobacco.
There are few reports confirming what additives smokeless tobacco contains, and it is very likely that brands vary in the kinds and amounts of additives used. There is a rumor that fiberglass is added to smokeless tobacco to increase the efficiency of nicotine absorption, although this isn't true. Although small, glass-like particles can be seen, this is due to the formation of salt crystals.
The addition of glass to dipping tobacco would be extremely ineffective as a delivery method, as bleeding and inflammation would be likely to decrease the uptake of nicotine. The amount of nicotine absorbed can be controlled by different cutting of the tobacco, increasing the nicotine concentration and raising the pH of the tobacco by adding various salts. An alkaline pH causes more nicotine to be absorbed, especially the free, unprotonated form, but is irritating to the mucosa. Nicotine itself can also irritate the mucosa.
List of brands
||This article possibly contains original research. (December 2011)|
- Copenhagen – Snuff (Fine Cut Natural), Natural (Long Cut and Extra Long Cut), Straight, Wintergreen, Southern Blend, Mint (on trial), Smooth Hickory*, Whiskey Blend*, Straight*, Black (on trial), Pouches
- Skoal – Wintergreen (Long Cut, Fine Cut, Ready Cut and Pouches), Mint (Long Cut, Ready Cut, Bandits, and Pouches), Straight (Long Cut, Ready Cut and Pouches), Apple, Cherry, Berry, Citrus, Peach, Spearmint, Rich Blend (Long Cut and Pouches), Xtra Crisp (Long Cut and Pouches), Xtra Mint (Long Cut and Pouches), Xtra Wintergreen (Long Cut and Pouches), Vanilla (Discontinued), Snus Mint
- Red Seal – Natural (Fine Cut and Long Cut), Wintergreen (Fine Cut and Long Cut), Mint, Straight
- Husky – Straight, Natural, Mint, Wintergreen
- Timber Wolf – Natural, Straight, Cool Wintergreen, Wintergreen, Apple, Mint, Peach
- Kayak – Apple, Peach, Mint, Grape, Straight, Wintergreen
- Longhorn – Mint, Straight, Wintergreen
- Red Man – Straight, Natural, and Wintergreen
- Stoker's – Mint, Wintergreen, Natural, Straight
- Grizzly – Snuff (Fine Cut and Pouches), Long Cut 1900, Natural (Extra Long Cut and Fine Cut), Mint (Long Cut and Pouches), Straight (Long Cut and Pouches), Wintergreen (Long Cut, Fine Cut, Wide Cut, and Pouches)
- Kodiak – Wintergreen, Mint (formerly Ice), and Straight
- Marketed under "Cope", a brand of Copenhagen – Unspecified flavours are Long Cut
- Silver Creek
- Gold River
- Rooster (discontinued in 2009)
- Happy Days
- Revved Up Energy Dip
- Red Rooster Tobacco
Based on studies at the time was believed to be a strong association with cancer and a fairly low usage outside of North America and several countries have banned the sale (and in some cases the import) of dipping tobacco. Sale of dipping tobacco was banned in South Australia in 1986 and across the country in 1991 and in most of the EU nations in 1992. Sweden was exempt from this ban because of the traditionally high usage of snus in that country.
In the USA it is illegal to sell dip to persons under the age of 18 (except in Alabama, Alaska, New Jersey, Utah, and the Counties of Suffolk County, Onondaga and Nassau in New York State where the age requirement is 19).
Companies are now required to place very large warning labels that comprise at least 20 percent of all advertisements and 30 percent of two principal display panels on each tin.
In the United States, the federal government taxes dipping tobacco at $0.5033 per pound or $0.0315 per ounce, tin or pouch. Excise taxes are also levied at the state level (Pennsylvania being the only exception), and in some instances, at the local level. Sales tax is also applied to the full retail price of dipping tobacco in most jurisdictions. The price of a tin of tobacco can range anywhere from under $1 per tin to more than $7. Price is affected by factors such as brand and especially the varying excise taxes from state to state.
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- SnusOn Community - The world's largest forum community centered around Swedish snus and smokeless tobacco. Contains reviews,tutorials, information and discussions.
- Snus Authority - A blog dedicated to snus, snuff, and other forms of smokeless tobacco.
- Snus Central - A popular news and information site on smokeless tobacco.