Dipping tobacco, also known as American moist snuff or spit tobacco, is a form of smokeless tobacco. It is commonly referred to as dip while the act of using it is called dipping, having a dip,packing a lip, packing a dip, going lippin, packin' a lipper, throwing in a lipski, or throwing one (a dip) in. Chewing tobacco is often associated with this family of products.
Dip is sometimes "chew"; because of this, it is commonly confused with chewing tobacco. It is a version of the Swedish "snus" that was brought to America by Swedish immigrants in the 19th century. Instead of literally chewing on tobacco, a small clump of dip is 'pinched' out of the tin and placed between the lower or upper lip and gums. The dip rests on the inside lining of the mouth for approximately 30 minutes to an hour — ultimately the duration of a dip is determined by the user —where saliva carries nicotine to the inferior or superior labial arteries.
Dip tobacco, unlike the Swedish variant snus, often causes the user to produce excess saliva while dipping. This is typically spat onto the ground or in a bottle because swallowing can cause irritation to the esophagus, nausea, and vomiting — however, some (long-time) dippers can swallow the tobacco-caused saliva with no unusual effects. 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 constantly using both hands during work (which doesn't provide opportunities for cigarette smoking). Dip is also used by many athletes and students to get nicotine without smoking.
"Tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs) are believed to play a significant role as causes of cancer in people who use tobacco products. The risk of mouth cancer is significantly debated by some American public health professionals, as noted in several recent and past studies. However, most researchers emphasize that while smokeless tobacco may be a "less harmful" alternative to smoking, it is not a "safe" alternative to smoking.
One recent study indicated that smokeless tobacco users are exposed to more NNK, a human carcinogen, than cigarette smokers. NNK is known to cause cancer in laboratory animals. This study, like others, stresses that smokeless tobacco use is not a "safe" alternative to cigarettes.
"The three leading U.S. snuff brands (Copenhagen, Skoal fine cut, and Kodiak; making up 92% of the U.S. market [in 1994]) showed not only high levels of pH, nicotine, and unprotonated (free) nicotine, but also high concentrations of the strongly carcinogenic TSNAs in comparison with the fourth and fifth best selling moist snuff brands, Hawken and Skoal Bandits (3% of the U.S. market [in 1994]).
Cancer, however, is not frequently experienced as a consequence in Sweden, where smokeless tobacco use is well-established. It should be noted, however, that Swedish moist snuff ("Snus") utilizes a different manufacturing process that is speculated to reduce the amount of harmful chemicals delivered to the smokeless tobacco user, specifically by minimizing nitrosamine content.
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.
Due to contrasting results in studies, many conclude that further research should be done on the cardiovascular risks of smokeless tobacco.
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."
The addition of glass to dipping tobacco would not be beneficial for increasing nicotine delivery, as bleeding and inflammation would be likely to reduce 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.
In 2001, a type of dissolvable tobacco lozenge was developed by Star Scientific, sold and marketed under the brand names Ariva and Stonewall. The company claims that the product is "spit-less", and that its manufacturing process possibly reduces TSNA levels. In 2006, "spit-less" snus tobacco products were test-marketed by Altria Group Inc. (formerly Phillip Morris Companies) and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, under the names Taboka and Camel Snus.
Canadian tins are smaller in size compared to tins produced for the United States. US tins are generally 34 grams while Canadian tins are 15 grams. Smokeless tobacco products are also more expensive in Canada compared to the United States. Prices for a 15 gram tin of average, popular brand smokeless tobacco are normally around $6-7 Canadian Dollars. As of July 2008, smokeless tobacco prices in Canada are scheduled to rise 64 percent, totalling approximately 10 dollars per tin. Though prices tend to vary more from one state to the next in the US, it is quite common to find the same brands of smokeless tobacco products in containers twice the size as Canadian ones, for around half the price with currency differences taken into account. Canadian users wait longer for new products to be released and spend, depending on province, up to 40% more. Many flavours are not released in Canadian markets until much later due to tobacco denormalization laws. As of September 2008, Canadian smokeless tobacco products are offered in 34 gram tins, identical in volume to their American counterparts. The price of these new tins are around fourteen dollars per 34 gram tin, negating the temoporary sixty four percent price hike that occured briefly in the preceeding summer. The new price is uniform with pre-summer Canadian pricing- roughly forty cents per gram.
Tobacco-free smokeless products are available on the market such as Mint Snuff, Smokey Mountain Snuff, and Hooch Snuff utilize a herbal based composition with ingredients such as mint leaves, corn silk or pueraria. KIKIT is a completely edible chewing tobacco alternative made from coconut. Also, some food companies produce jerky chew, shredded beef jerky in smokeless tobacco sized tins.