Guide to Quitting Smokeless Tobacco

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What do I need to know about quitting?

    The National Toxicology Program of the National Institutes of Health continues to classify smokeless tobacco as a known human carcinogen—proven to cause cancer in people. – US Surgeon General Richard Carmona, MD, MPH

Smokeless tobacco is less lethal than cigarettes for most people, but using any form of tobacco puts you at serious health risks.

All forms of oral tobacco have chemicals that cause cancer (carcinogens). These products can cause cancer of the mouth, throat, pancreas, and esophagus (the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach). Oral and smokeless tobacco also cause many other health problems, such as gum disease, destruction of the bone sockets around the teeth, and tooth loss. They cause bad breath and stained teeth, too.

Smokeless tobacco products are called by a lot of names: Oral tobacco, chewing, snuff, snus, spit, spitless tobacco, and dissolvable nicotine, to name a few. (See Smokeless Tobacco for more details.) No matter what it’s called, smokeless tobacco is not a safe alternative to smoking. The bottom line: All forms of tobacco can be deadly.

We hope you’re reading this because you want to quit using smokeless tobacco. It’s hard to quit smokeless tobacco, but you can do it. To have the best chance of quitting and staying quit, you need to know what you’re up against, what your options are, and where to go for help. You’ll find this information here.


Last Medical Review: 02/20/2014
Last Revised: 02/20/2014