Since 1995 - Non Profit Healthcare Advice

Spitting into the Wind: The Facts About Dip and Chew

A lot of athletes get hooked before they know the facts about dip and chew.


They do not know that spit tobacco:

  • is addictive
  • contains nicotine
  • does not help performance
  • is not a safe alternative to cigarettes

Addiction is one tough opponent.

It does not take long to get hooked. In fact, you get more nicotine from spit tobacco than from cigarettes. To get unhooked, you have to know what you are up against and you need a game plan. Once you are hooked, it is hard to keep lid on this addiction.


There are no benefits of using spit tobacco.

In a Major League Baseball poll, not one player who used dip or chew said that the tobacco improved his game or sharpened his reflexes.


Scientists agree. Spit tobacco does not improve athletic performance.


What is really in it for you?

  • Nicotine (addictive drug)
  • Polonium 210 (nuclear waste)
  • Formaldehyde (embalming fluid)
  • Cancer-Causing Chemicals
  • Radioactive Elements

These are just some of the ingredients in dip and chew. Spit tobacco is not a safe alternative to cigarettes. The toxic chemicals can damage your gums. They also can cause cancer.


The Truth about Dip and Chew


Even if you do not know the harm dip and chew can do, your body does. 


Cancer is like a bomb! You don’t know when it will go off.

Up to a certain point, if you quit, your body can heal itself… but the longer you use spit tobacco, the bigger your risk of getting cancer. You don’t have to dip for 30 years to get cancer! Quit while you are still ahead of the game.

Do not let it be too late. Chewing tobacco and snuff can cause mouth and throat cancer. There are some athletes who have developed mouth cancer after only six or seven years of using spit tobacco. It is hard to cure because it spreads fast.


If not caught right away, major surgery is often needed to take out parts of your mouth, jaw, and tongue.

Check you mouth often. Look closely at places where you hold the tobacco.


See your doctor or dentist right away if you have:


  • a sore that bleeds easily and does not heal
  • a lump or thickening anywhere in your mouth or neck
  • soreness or swelling that does not go away
  • trouble chewing, swallowing, or moving your tongue or jaw

Stay in the Game

Your doctor, dentist, trainer, or coach can help you quit. The best way to quit is to have a plan. The game plan in Spit Tobacco: A Guide for Quitting can make quitting easier.

Inside this guide you will find out how to:

  • Pick a quit date
  • Cut back before quitting
  • Get through the tough times
  • Build a support team
  • Stay tobacco free!


This information was provided by the National Institutes of Health and is not copyrighted. Print and make as many photocopies as you need.

For a free copy of this guide and quitting advice, call 1-800-4-CANCER.


For more information:

Go to the Smoking and Tobacco health topic.