There are four general types of smokeless tobacco available in the United States: chew, snuff, snus, and dissolvable tobacco. New oral nicotine pouches and lozenges are a new category of tobacco product that come in many flavors and are increasing in popularity. The products are still derived from tobacco and contain nicotine, but due to the absence of tobacco leaf, the Food and Drug Administration does not classify it as a smokeless tobacco product. Some of these products also claim to use synthetic nicotine, which has not yet been regulated by the FDA.
Types of smokeless tobacco –
Chewing tobacco (“chew”) is available in loose leaves, plugs, or twists of tobacco, and is placed between the cheek and gum or teeth. Examples of chewing tobacco include Red Man and Levi Garrett.
Snuff is finely ground tobacco packaged in cans or pouches, which can be sold dry (powdered form that is sniffed) or moist (placed between the lower lip or cheek and gum) and is sometimes used in tea bag-like pouches. Popular brands of moist snuff are Copenhagen and Skoal.
Snus, a product that originated in Sweden, is moist snuff that comes packaged in small pouches and is often flavored. This product does not produce excess saliva like other forms of smokeless tobacco, making it spit-less.
Separate from American snus, Swedish Snus are produced pursuant to a voluntary standard designed to reduce contaminants and nitrosamine levels (the “Gothiatek” standard). The FDA reviewed some of these Swedish Snus products and permitted their sale in the U.S. and authorized them as modified risk tobacco products. The eight Swedish Match USA, Inc. snus smokeless tobacco products sold under the “General” brand name are permitted to be marketed with the claim, “Using General Snus instead of cigarettes puts you at a lower risk of mouth cancer, heart disease, lung cancer, stroke, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis.” By allowing them to be sold, FDA concluded that the manufacturer demonstrated that the products will benefit the health of the population as a whole. By allowing the modified risk claims, FDA determined that the manufacturer’s reduced risk claims were substantiated. Not all snus products have gone through FDA review, and no other snus products have been granted modified risk marketing orders.
Dissolvable tobacco is another spit-less, frequently flavored tobacco product that is finely milled and dissolves orally. Ariva and Stonewall are some of the dissolvable products on the market.
ORAL NICOTINE PRODUCTS –
Tobacco companies recognize that cigarette smoking is decreasing and have invested significantly in smoke-free nicotine delivery products to “maintain a market of users addicted to nicotine as a lifestyle product.”
New oral nicotine products, often called Modern Oral Nicotine by the tobacco industry, have been emerging among big tobacco companies (e.g. RJ Reynolds, Swedish Match, and British American Tobacco). These typically come in the form of pouches but can come in other forms like dissolvable tablets.
These products are advertised as “tobacco-free” or “tobacco leaf-free,” with frequent emphasis on how they can be used anywhere with no need for batteries or additional devices. They also come in a variety of flavors and different nicotine strengths.
The products are still derived from tobacco and contain nicotine, which is harmful to young people in any form, but due to the absence of tobacco leaf, the Food and Drug Administration does not classify it as a smokeless tobacco product.
Although these new oral nicotine products may have lower health risks than combusted tobacco, they have not been reviewed by FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products (CTP). Further, none of these products are approved for smoking cessation by FDA’s Center for Drug Research and Evaluation (CDER) and there is a lack of evidence that they can be used as such. Oral nicotine products have the potential to appeal to youth and young adults due to their wide array of flavors and their ability to be used discreetly.