The Many Names of Smokeless Tobacco

Learn the facts about dip, chew, snuff, snus, and other names for smokeless tobacco.

What is Dip? With so many names – chewing tobacco, dip, snus, snuff, snuff tobacco, chew, chaw, dipping tobacco – and many more, you gotta ask, “What is Dip?” Regardless of the name, dip is any form of smokeless tobacco. Smokeless tobacco products consist of tobacco or a tobacco blend that’s chewed, sucked on or sniffed, rather than smoked.

There are many types of smokeless tobacco products around the world. The main types of smokeless tobacco in the US are:

Chewing tobacco.

Chewing tobaccoconsists of sweetened loose tobacco leaves packaged in pouches. You put a wad of the tobacco between your cheek and gum and hold it there, sometimes for hours at a time. It’s also called chew and chaw. Usually you spit out the tobacco juices, but if you’re more addicted, you tend to swallow some of the juices.


This is chewing tobacco that has been pressed into a brick shape, often with the help of syrup, such as molasses, which also sweetens the tobacco. You cut off or bite off a piece of the plug and hold it between your cheek and gum. You spit out the tobacco juices.


Twists are flavored chewing tobacco braided and twisted into rope-like strands. You hold it between your cheek and gum and spit out the tobacco juices.


This is finely ground or shredded tobacco leaves. Snuff comes in dry or moist forms, packaged in tins or tea bag-like pouches. A pinch of snuff is placed between the lower lip and gum or cheek and gum. Dry forms of snuff can be sniffed into the nose. Using snuff is also called dipping. You normally spit out the tobacco juices, but as with chewing tobacco, if you’re more addicted you tend to swallow at least some of the juices.


Snus (pronounced snoos) is a newer smokeless, spit-less tobacco product that originated in Sweden. It comes in a pouch that you stick between your upper lip and gum. You leave it there for about a half-hour without having to spit, then discard it.

Dis-solvable tobacco products.

Dis-solvable tobacco products consist of compressed powdered tobacco and are similar to small hard candies. They dissolve in your mouth, requiring no spitting of tobacco juices. They’re sometimes called tobacco lozenges, but they’re not the same as the nicotine lozenges used to help you quit smoking.

What is Dip? You can call chewing tobacco by whatever name you want — smokeless tobacco, spit tobacco, chew, snuff, pinch or dip — but don’t call it harmless.

No matter why you chew tobacco — because you like it or because you think smokeless is safer than cigarettes — chewing tobacco can cause serious health problems.