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What Is Snuff and Is It Harmful?

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 and addictive chemicals that can raise your risk of many health problems.

To produce snuff, tobacco is dried and finely ground. There are two main types of snuff — dried and moist. To use dried snuff, you inhale the ground tobacco into your nasal cavity. To use moist snuff, 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.

Like cigarettes, pipe tobacco, and chewing tobacco, snuff is a dangerous and addictive product.

Snuff is not only highly addictive, but also harmful to your health. 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 impact your body.

Like other forms of tobacco, snuff contains cancer-causing chemicals. It can raise your risk of several types of cancer, including:

Using snuff also raises your risk of other conditions, such as:

If you’re pregnant, it increases the chances of premature birth and stillbirth.

Using moist snuff can also yellow your teeth, sour your breath, and lead to tooth decay and gum infections. In some cases, you might lose teeth. You might even develop problems deep inside your jaw that result in bone loss. This can disfigure your face.

Because it’s addictive, snuff can be challenging to quit. If you’ve developed a snuff addiction or habit, make an appointment with your doctor. They can help you develop a plan to quit. For example, they might recommend a combination of nicotine replacement therapy, prescription drugs, counseling, or other strategies.

Nicotine replacement therapy

Nicotine withdrawal can cause unpleasant symptoms. To manage your symptoms, your doctor may recommend nicotine replacement therapy. It provides doses of nicotine without the other harmful chemicals found in tobacco.

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You can find nicotine patches, lozenges, gums, and other nicotine replacement products at most drugstores. You don’t need a prescription to buy them.

Prescription medication

Some prescription drugs can also help you quit using tobacco. For example, your doctor might prescribe varenicline (Chantix) or buproprion. Ask your doctor for more information about the potential benefits and risks of these medications.


A mental health counselor can help you overcome addiction and develop healthier habits. They can also help you control your triggers, manage withdrawal symptoms, and maintain your motivation. Consider asking your doctor for a referral to a counselor.

Every state, as well as the District of Columbia, offers a free phone-based tobacco cessation program. These services can connect you with mental health professionals. They can help you find ways to cope without tobacco, give you a safe place to talk about your concerns, and point you toward other free resources to help you give up tobacco for good.

Social support

While some people prefer one-on-one counseling, others may find success in larger group settings. For example, programs such as Nicotine Anonymous offer support group sessions for people coping with nicotine addiction. In these sessions, you can connect with others who are trying to stop using tobacco products. You can provide each other with motivation and social support. They can also share concrete strategies for changing your lifestyle.

Your friends and family can also provide essential support. Tell them about your goal to quit and let them know how they can help you. For example, if certain places or activities increase your tobacco cravings, ask your loved ones to help you avoid these triggers when you’re spending time together.

When you stop using snuff, you’ll likely experience withdrawal symptoms. For example, you might experience:

In time, these symptoms will start to subside, and you’ll begin to feel better. In the meantime, ask your doctor how you can limit and manage withdrawal symptoms using nicotine replacement therapy, prescription medications, counseling, or other strategies.

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Quitting also comes with many health benefits. Cutting snuff and other tobacco products from your life will lower your chances of developing cancer, high blood pressure, and heart disease. It will also give your mouth the opportunity to heal if you’ve developed sores or infections on your lips, gums, or cheeks.

It’s not easy to break a snuff addiction. But with support from your family, friends, and doctor, you can kick your habit. A combination of nicotine replacement therapy, prescription medication, counseling, or other treatments can increase your chances of success.

It won’t happen in a day, but if you believe in yourself and stick with your tobacco cessation program, you can develop healthier habits. It’s time to leave tobacco behind for good.

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