Smokeless Tobacco

Smokeless tobacco use, including chewing tobacco, dip, snuff, and snus, is harmful to health. Because the tobacco is not smoked, many perceive it as being safer than smoking. However, smokeless tobacco typically contains nicotine, which is highly addictive. In addition, health problems caused by smokeless tobacco use include cancer of the mouth and esophagus, as well as oral disease. Smokeless tobacco use may also increase the risk of death from heart disease and stroke.

In the CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report titled Smokeless Tobacco Use Among Working Adults – United States, 2005 and 2010, data were analyzed from the National Health Interview Survey to determine how many workers in the United States used smokeless tobacco by occupation and by industry. Results showed little differences in the number of workers using smokeless tobacco between 2005 (2.7%) and 2010 (3.0%). Current smokeless tobacco use was reported as being the highest in 2010 among adults between the ages of 25- 44 years (3.9%). Further results for those using smokeless tobacco included:

open can of smokeless tobacco
  • 5.6 % among males
  • 4.0% of non-Hispanic whites
  • 3.9% of adults with a high school education only
  • 3.9% of adults living in the south
  • 1.5% of adults working in education
  • 18.8% of adults working in mining
  • 1.3% of adults working in office and administration
  • 9.0% of adults working in installation, maintenance,and repairs
  • 10.8% of adults working in construction and extraction

Health professionals and employers can play an important part in helping users to quit through proper guidance and cessation programs.

Resources for Smokeless Tobacco

CDC
Smokeless Tobacco
Factsheets for health effects and cessation for smokeless tobacco use.
National Cancer Institute
Smokeless Tobacco and CancerExternal
Information on smokeless tobacco and associated health hazards provided by the National Cancer Institute.
American Lung Association
Health Effects of Smokeless Tobacco ProductsExternal
Key facts about smokeless tobacco and its effect on your health.
National Institutes of Health – National Library of Medicine
Smokeless TobaccoExternal
A summary of guidance for the health effects for use of smokeless tobacco.

Page last reviewed: November 16, 2016