What is snuff?
If you think that smoking cigarettes isn’t healthy but snuff is safe, think again. Snuff is a tobacco product. Like cigarettes, it contains harmful chemicals that can raise your risk of many health problems. However, the exposure level to these chemicals is lower than that of smoked tobacco products.
Similar to other tobacco products like cigarettes, pipe tobacco, and chewing tobacco, snuff should be considered unhealthy and may lead to the development of a substance use disorder.
To produce snuff, tobacco is dried and finely ground. There are two main types of snuff: dried and moist.
In a 2014 report Trusted Source, the National Cancer Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that more than 40 types of smokeless tobacco products are used by nose or mouth by more than 300 million people around the world — including snuff.
To use dried snuff, you inhale the ground tobacco into your nasal cavity. To use moist snuff, also known as “dipping,” you put the tobacco between your lower lip or cheek and gum. The nicotine from the tobacco is absorbed through the lining of your nose or mouth.
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Is snuff harmful?
The CDC Trusted Source warns that smokeless tobacco products are harmful to your health and contain nicotine, which has a strong link to the development of addiction.
You might think that using snuff isn’t as dangerous as smoking because you’re not inhaling smoke into your lungs. However, snuff can still negatively affect your body.
Like other forms of tobacco, snuff contains chemicals that can cause cancer. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS)Trusted Source, people who dip or chew snuff ingest about as much nicotine as people who regularly smoke cigarettes. Also, they get exposed to more than 25 chemicals known to cause cancer.
Tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs) are the strongest of the cancer-causing substances in smokeless tobacco. TSNA levels differ among products. Those with higher levels carry a greater risk of negative health effects.
The CDC Trusted Source warns that smokeless products can raise your risk of several types of cancer, including:
The CDC Trusted Source also warns that using smokeless tobacco products may:
increase your risk of death from heart disease and stroke
increase the chance of premature birth and stillbirth if you’re pregnant
cause nicotine poisoning in children if they accidentally ingest the substance
A 2019 research review Trusted Source involving 20 studies over 4 global regions found a significant association between smokeless tobacco use and risk of death from coronary heart disease, especially among European users. The researchers pointed to the need to include smokeless tobacco in public tobacco cessation efforts.
Using moist snuff can also:
yellow your teeth
sour your breath
lead to tooth decay and gum infections, and in some cases jaw complications or loss of teeth resulting in bone loss and face disfigurement
Since 2010, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)Trusted Source in the United States has required one of four warnings on all smokeless tobacco products:
In 2019, the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act in the United States was amended. This raised the federal minimum age of sale of all tobacco products, including snuff, from 18 to 21 years Trusted Source.