Also called 'chew', chewing tobacco is a finely ground form of the tobacco plant. It comes in two main variants: long cut and snuff. Snuff has a very small size, generally less than 2mm length. Long cut ranges in size from about 1mm to 8mm in length.

In most cases, the product comes in little round containters called 'tins', though the Copenhagen brand chew is the only one sold which actually comes in a tin.

To use the product, a pinch of tobacco is placed between the gums and teeth and held for a period of time. Snuff, as the name implies, used to be snorted. Most users today, however, place the snuff between gum and cheek. The US Senate for a number of years maintained a large snuff box in the Senate chambers, but mainly for historical reasons.

To keep from gagging on the noxious chew juices, most users spit the juices out. Ultra hardcore users will swallow the juice, but this will increase chances of stomach cancer.

Chew can cause cavities, ginvitis, bad breath, tooth loss, mouth and throat cancer. The cancers caused by chew are extremenly painful and disfiguring.

All that aside, chew produces a wonderful nicotine high that's much more intense than that from cigarettes. Popular brands of chew include:

Red Man

Most chew in this country is produced by U.S. Tobacco.
My generation growing up in Tennessee was generally confused about all the different types of 'smokeless' tobacco: snuff, dip, chaw, plugs, ropes, etc. The most popular was what we usally called "dip": moist finely shredded tobacco sold in small tins (Copenhagen, Skoal, Kodiak). Dippin' requires putting a pinch of this stuff between your lower lip and your gum.

A dedicated (not to mention cool) dip user had a permanent ring visible in his jeans pocket where he kept his can of dip. Skoal was the brand of choice among my friends from about age 10 through 14, then Copenhagen became the only cool dip (Skoal being minty and for kids). Skoal introduced a new product called "Bandits" sometime in the 80s that was their normal dip in tiny pouches like tea bags. I guess they were supposed to be less nasty, but everyone knew they were for wusses.

What we called "dip" was also called "snuff", mainly by older folks. This confused us, because the product that actually said snuff on the label was a very fine, dry powder (This was back before tobacco products were secured behind counters, so you could actually browse them and examine the labels). We were baffled by this snuff, because the name implied that it was snorted, but that seemed like a terrible idea, especially because we were under the impression that old ladies used it. I'm pretty sure that this dry snuff is used just like dip, but you could probably convince me that some people prefer to snort it.

The other popular smokeless tobacco product was normally just called "chewing tobacco" or "chaw". Redman and Beechnut are the popular brands. It's somewhat moist, long cut shredded tobacco sold in a pouch. Fairly well described above.

Contrary to sh()gun's statement, the traditional snuff is still widely available in the U.S., at least in the South. At the Piggly Wiggly in my home town in rural Tennessee you can still buy it, along with many brands of dip and chaw, and a few of the more esoteric tobacco forms, such as plugs and rope. There's a few things called "plugs", but I will always remember one that is a rectangular cake of tobacco, smaller than the palm of an adult hand, and sold in a foil pouch. The tobacco is moist, but not as moist as dip, and not as finely shredded. It looks like a rich chocolatey brownie. And the ropes of tobacco look tough and dry, just like rope. Maybe they served a dual purpose many years ago.

Besides long term health and hygiene, the downside to all of these is the spit. If you hang around teenage dippers for any length of time you will see countless coke cans half full of dip spit knocked over on someone's rug or in their car. And you'll witness a handful of people accidentally sipping from a dip spit can that they think is a coke.

Personally, I found chewing tobacco of all kinds pretty unappealing when I was growing up, probably because I didn't want to be a redneck. Smoking was much cooler. I probably had a couple of tastes of dip and chew when I was 10 or so, and years later used them both a few times when I was desperate for nicotine, or wanted to bond with my older brother while we were on fishing trips together. I also tried one of those brownie-like plugs when a friend bought it for me as a gag gift.

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