Women and Smokeless Tobacco Use

Female SymbolAlthough more than 90 percent of smokeless tobacco users in the United States are male, a substantial number of women also use smokeless tobacco products. Studies show that women have a harder time trying to quit smokeless and have less success with abstinence programs than men. There are many proposed reasons for this:

Nicotine has different effects on mood in women compared to men. Women who quit may have greater anxiety and stress than men who quit. Women are not as physically dependent on nicotine as men, but they are more addicted to the actual behavior of smokeless, which is the more powerful deterrent to quitting. This may be the reason why nicotine replacement, which only reduces cravings, tends not to be as effective in women. Women may fear weight gain after quitting more than men. Certain phases in the menstrual cycle may reduce the response to drugs that are used to help women quit.

Men may be less supportive than women in helping their partners to quit. Women trying to quit may miss the feeling of control associated with smokeless tobacco more than men.

There’s a perceived social disapproval of women using smokeless tobacco. In fact, 38 percent of the women in the study said they could not use smokeless tobacco in the presence of certain people, and another 25 percent cited social disapproval as a drawback. These social concerns may reduce opportunities for women to use smokeless tobacco within their social circle. In spite of these drawbacks, a significant percentage of women in the study said the relaxing and calming effects and pleasure they associate with smokeless tobacco use are advantages of using these products.

Identifying factors associated with smokeless tobacco use by women and their current patterns of use could generate ways to prevent and treat smokeless tobacco use among women, the study states. “The data from this research could help target some of the educational and prevention messages that we should be giving to women.” However, first we have to make women smokeless tobacco users aware that other women use smokeless tobacco products and that they are not abnormal, so they are willing to seek help,” a reseacher says. “Women may be embarrassed about admitting smokeless tobacco use because the general perception is that smokeless tobacco use is socially undesirable, and women don’t use it,” the researcher speculates.

Among the unattractive features of smokeless tobacco use is the need to spit tobacco juice from time to time and dislodge particles of loose tobacco that get trapped between the teeth. This disadvantage of smokeless tobacco use was the one most frequently cited by women who did participated in a study of female smokeless tobacco users who weren’t seeking treatment, conducted by Dr. Hatsuki and her colleagues.

Information collected from several websites.

If you are a female wishing to quit this addiction, know that you’re not alone. Please realize you’re not nasty for using this type of nicotine. Try not to be embarrassed. I know it’s so very hard. I’ve been there! It’s taken 20 + years for me to finally say, “I am a woman Copenhagen user.”

Also realize even if you are not ready to quit, I am here to support you in an effort to prove just how important you are. Take the first step. And just maybe more will follow.


Join the discussion at ktcforum.org


  1. I chewed for years and finally quit – SMOKEY MOUNTAIN fake chew saved me. Almost a year later and I still crave the real thing.

  2. hi everyone.. I have a question or concern I guess.. please don’t be too harsh on me. I have dipped grizzley long cut wintergreen for 10 years or so.. I started dipping after I had my daughter 10 years ago..Anyway I am 32 wks pregnant and have not had any luck completely quitting! I realize its not good for my baby I have never had something have such a hold on me..I quit smoking really easy when I got pregnant with my 2 kids but this seems impossible..I have to add I suffer from severe G.A.D and mdd.. so that makes it harder..MY QUESTION IS HAVE Any of y’all dipped through your pregnancy??? or had a really tough time quitting while pregnant??. thank you for your time

    1. I was almost 3 months pregnant when I found out I was pregnant with my first child. I was dipping a can a day. It took about a month to quit and only because I used mint dip (no nicotine). Some people thought I was still dipping because I would still have stuff in my mouth. After delivery I made it about 4 months before I started dipping again sadly. My child was born 2 weeks early (luckily healthy) but still small. He also has been diagnosed with ADHD, anxiety, and learning disabilities. I will forever worry I am to blame. He is 14 years old now. I haven’t dipped in 8 years.

    2. I was about 3 months pregnant when I found out with my first child. I was dipping about a can a day. It took about a month to quit. I used mint dip so some people thought I never quit. He was born 2 weeks early (luckily healthy) but very small. He is 14 years old now and has been diagnosed with anxiety, ADHD, and other learning disabilities. I will forever worry I caused that. It’s been 8 years since my last relapse.

    3. I have tried replying a few times to this post but it’s not showing up. If you can see this I will try to post my response again.

  3. I started dipping 10 years ago while I was deployed in Afghanistan. I was the only female in my platoon and the guys would always say “ come on Hutch don’t be a pussy try some” So of course I did. I wasn’t gonna let them think I couldn’t do anything that they could. I dip a can of Grizzley pouches everyday. But I’m ready too quit. My wife hates it. She’s been on me for 9 years too quit. When I returned home and seen her She couldn’t believe that I had started. Anyways Ive got too quit. I’ve tried prob 10 times and always fail. I’ve got a 5 year old daughter who ask me everyday when are you gonna quit dipping mommy. And I always say soon baby mommy’s gonna quit soon. I’ve got to kick this habit and I’m going too start tomorrow. I’ve got my last 2 pouches in my mouth as I type this. Tomorrow is going too be the day!!

    1. Hutch, I am trying to register for the forum but am having trouble finding a registration site. Any ideas? Thanks

  4. I’ve been a Copenhagen chewer since sophomore year of high school. One of my friends had stolen her grandpas chew and tried it. She liked it and then showed me it. I’ve been hooked ever since. I’m from a small town so chewing was normal and some girls did it as well. So really the only people I hid my chew from where my parents and people who knew or talked to my parents. & now that I moved away for college to where nobody knew me I never have to hide my chew. Not having to hide it has made my addiction even worse.
    It’s been four years since I’ve started and I’ve tried to quit multiple times and never got past a week. But I am absolutely fed up with my addiction and letting something control me. I also hate that I can never have white teeth no matter how many times I brush in a day or how many whiting products I use. I am currently on day 6 without one. It’s been extremely tough but each day is a new win. As long as I don’t fall for “one dip won’t hurt” I know I can make it through this. & so can you!

    1. What did you do instead of dipping? I have been trying to quit but I always cave in. I’ve been trying to find an alternative to get my mind off dipping. I’ve tried sunflower seeds and gum but haven’t helped so far. Any words of wisdom or tips?

      1. Im on day 156 of quitting. The hardest time of the day for me is when Im driving. That’s when I really want to dip or when I get stressed out so instead I use the fake stuff (Smokey Mountain) and I eat a ton of lifesavers. Sadly there are some days where the compulsion is so strong I literally have to hide under my covers until the craving passes. This is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. To combat weight gain (which is one of the reasons I chewed so long in the first place) i workout atleast two hours a day. Also, after 23 years of dipping I finally went to the dentist and had to have several teeth removed. That in and of itself is motivation for me to never dip again. It’s not worth it. Every little ailment I feel I freak out it has something to do with dipping.

    2. Hi! I am a Copenhagen user and started my first year of college! I’m going on year 5 of using and today is my second day… so tough! Hoping to get over the hump. I wish you the best of luck on your journey!

  5. Wow, I didn’t realise so many women use smokeless tobacco. I originally quit smoking by using Swedish snus. I got the Camel version first, but then bought the strong stuff online before Obama’s tobacco act. Now it’s way too expensive to order with a $20-$30 shipping fee! So, I ended up trying American dip, and found Grizzly Wintergreen to be the strongest. I still use it, and I’m always embarrassed to buy it. I only use it at home, though. I can’t imagine having a fat lip in public having to spit every couple minutes. I may go back to snus eventually, but right now this is the “cheapest” option. I just can’t go back to smoking, though. I like to sing, and I can’t hit the notes if I’m smoking. I will eventually quit everything, but my life is a bit hectic right now. Nicotine mellows me out, and even helps me stay focused a little. If anyone is looking to quit dipping I recommend looking into snus. buysnus.com is a good place to get it, because tobacconists never carry the strong stuff.

  6. I have chewed off and on for about 10 years. Im ready to quit. I got hooked in high school when some guys in my auto class offered me some berry blend. Chewing gum has helped me in the past but laty hasn’t helped as I havent been chewing gum often. I just signed up for my first Triathlon and want to quit. I need to start running again so that “runners high” will take the place of the buzz I get from tobbaco.

    1. I cannot use gum to quit due to the fact that my teeth are fake. They were knocked out in an attack by a stranger when I was in my 20s, and so I got fake teeth very young. I guess that stops the fears of chew ruining my teeth anyhow, they are plastic. However gum will not work with dentures at all, not even Freedent because it yanks out the teeth loosens them etc. But I really have no desire to quit, other than our stupid Govt trying to tax people out of being able to afford to use tobacco, a legal substance. I also cannot use nicotine gum obviously, and patches made me quite ill the one time I used them- after a gum surgery where I could not use tobacco temporarily or risk dry socket. Those patches are too strong, so apparently I absorb very little nicotine compared. I also am not treated any differently by anyone in my life, I have used tobacco since age 14, all my friends were guys in school and we did it together. Lung disease all my life has prevented me from smoking ever. I like the taste and feel of chewing tobacco, actually its dip not stuff like Redman, but canned stuff. I live in the twin cities of MN, no one here tends to care if I use it in public places either. This is an odd state, it is artsy, musical and there are many homosexual and alternative lifestyles here, yet also a bunch of hicks, jerks and narrow minds, yet no ones ever judged my tobacco use because Im female. In fact I have dated every month of my life since age 14, and not one guy has even cared nor minded really, or not one has said so. And I am no model or thin beautiful woman, like you. I am actually a bit heavyset, not really big but not small, I am 41, not young, I have shaved hair and a nose ring, and I am short as hell too. So its not just looks getting me by with men. Not to imply that that is your case, just explaining.

  7. I am 23 years old and I have been dipping Skoal pouches for 4 years. I am a fitness and fashion model. I’m not a hillbilly, I live in a big city, and no one knows that I have this awful habit except for my brother and he has no idea how much I actually chew. I desperately want to quit but I feel helpless. Before I started dipping, I smoked cigarettes in secret occasionally but I played Division 1 college sports and smoking was beginning to hurt my performance. Desperate to quit smoking, I started dating a guy who chewed tobacco. I tried it with him a couple of times and I was hooked. I no longer smoke cigarettes but my addiction to smokeless tobacco is much worse. For the first couple of years as a dipper, I chewed once or twice a day when I could find time to be alone. Since then it has become much worse. I now chew a can or more a day. I sit in the same pathetic spot on my couch, alone, and dip. I cancel plans and avoid carpooling with people so that I can have an opportunity to chew. It controls me. I live alone now, I work from home and I avoid being around others so that I can chew. Sometimes I sit on my computer and work for 6 plus hours putting in dip after dip until the skin in my mouth is literally falling off and it hurts so bad. I don’t eat all day because I’m chewing. I stay up late to chew. I recently moved to LA and I don’t have any friends here and I can’t even leave my apartment to meet people because it would interfere with my habit. My gums are receding, practically everyone in my family is a dentist so I know the dangers and risks and all of that but even my fears can’t overcome this addiction. I AM DESPERATE TO QUIT. Every night I tell myself I am going to quit tomorrow and I’m stronger than this but the next morning, the second I feel stress I don’t even care about my intentions to quit or my health or I think “one won’t hurt”. I work out twice a day, I eat healthy, and genuinely care about my health but in my head dip trumps all and I feel helpless. My goal is to quit January 1st. Any advice? Should I cut down? Should I dip my brains our until my quit date? How can I do this?

    1. I am a woman 40 years old who lives in a city and has used Skoal and timberwolf tobacco since age 15. I have lung disease have never smoked a cogarette in my life due to it. I live how it tastes and have no desire to stop. In fact I think only cancer could make me stop. I do not feel ashamed, my boyfriend of 10 years knows and does not care or mind. Everyone I ever dated was not bothered either. Friends do not mind and even the other women do not find it gross. Most say theyd not do it but if I do oh well, and I do not have to hide it and do not, from anyone. It is my life and my choice.

    2. i personally am using zonic nicotine gum and have been 31 days so far. it may help. but you must reduce and quit gum at some point. i went from 4 mg. to 2 mg. 6 days ago and have plans to go to regular gum of the same flavor. hope this helps. my goal is also jan. 1 straight gum, no zonic. good luck. dipper for twenty years.

    3. I know it’s different for me as I’m a guy. But I dipped for 13 years before deciding to quit. I felt the need to reply to yours because A lot of what you wrote was spot on for me. I hid it from my significant other for 7 years. She suspected and caught me once or twice but that’s about it. But I would find excuses to get away from her so I can put a dip in. Then it got to the point I had a dip in while with her and it was the main reason I switched to pouches.

      Let me tell you that quitting won’t work until you really want to quit. I’m almost 8 months in and I nearly broke down and bought a can of skoal mint pouches. The only reason I didn’t was because there apparently was a recall on them so everywhere was out of them.

      Get medication to help you get off the nicotine if needed. Then learn to hate tobacco and the control it has over you. It’s the only way.

      But you can do it. If I can, anyone can.

    4. Did you finally quit? I have the same problem. I have been chewing Kodiak for years (in private). I am a former D1 athlete (Swimmer) and currently, 48 years old in the best shape of my life. I workout twice a day and vegan but I CANT quit this stuff. ugh. I was successful from March – November using Smokey Mountain (non tobacco chew). Then I fell off the wagon due to stress. 3 days back in. I hope you can find some “fake” chew. It works but it’s not the same

    5. Hi Ali! Your story reminds me a lot of mine! College athlete, smoked in secret for a while, then my friend offered me a chew one day and it just seemed easier and healthier, even though I know the truth about that. I’m constantly skipping meals so I don’t have to skip dips, and staying up late to do the same, just like you. What’s worse is that my habit is now paired with alcohol. If my routine gets thrown off at all, I get extremely anxious and cranky and don’t want to go anywhere. I’ve felt exactly the way you have, and have tried to stop several times. “One won’t hurt” was definitely my motto every time. The thing is, we all know we are just trying to cope with how to quit, but honestly, I haven’t found anything super inspiring, besides the fact that I’m a very competitive athlete. Today is the first day of my quit- smoking, chew, and alcohol. At this time of the day, I am feeling anxious, but my goal is to work with my competitive side and talk to myself the way one of my toughest coaches would. I’m not berating myself by any means, but I am so tired of disappointing myself. I am doing this today because I can, because there is never going to be a “right” time, and because I’m tired of being controlled by something so bad for my health. I think you and I are definitely in the same boat. If you would like to chat further, please feel free to reach out to me. It would be helpful for me to talk about my quit with someone who I feel understands exactly what I’m going through! It’s hard to make the decision, but if you want to, I can be there to help! I’m doing it this time. Quitting. No excuses any more! Wish me luck!

    6. Ali P………. you shouldn’t feel ashamed. I was very touched by your story. You sound like a really good and beautiful woman and don’t let a bad habit make you feel self-conscious. This is coming from a guy who doesn’t smoke or doesn’t chew tobacco but who has never had an issue with dating women with these habits. And definitely shouldn’t isolate yourself from the world. Anyhow there are some guys that would definitely be interested and a woman like you and would support you what are you decided to continue your habit or if you wanted to quit either way. I would love to talk to you sometime if you need a friend or just some support.

  8. I am 26 and have been dipping Copenhagen since I was 16. I recently moved to a part of the country where the cost of a can is nearly $9 so I had to cut back from 1 can every 2-3 days to 1 can every 5-6 days. My husband and family have no idea I have this addiction. I do it secretly when I’m home alone, driving, or taking a shower. This has forced me to keep the frequency down to a minimum (fewer opportunities). I decided 2 days ago that I would quit due to various pains and mysterious sores appearing in my mouth. I have always been very paranoid about random ulcers so I decided to stop living in constant fear. I have too much to live for. Day 1 was no big deal, I kept myself busy and avoided those “private times” when I would sneak a dip. Day 2 was easy, lost a little sleep that night but continued to keep myself busy. Day 3 has just begun and I have started making rationalizations with myself: “maybe you should just cut back before going cold turkey”, “that ulcer went away so it must not be cancer, you’re still in the clear”, “one dip every now and then can’t be that dangerous”, and so on. I miss it, seriously. The taste, the feeling, the rush, everything. Just hoping that the worst will be over after today.

    1. Hey Kristen – I am a can a day Hawken user and I am wanting to quit – I went on the IM site and the guys were rough – is there a woman only chat room??

        1. Oh I know, and that is great – it is just that the shame women feel about how their dipping is viewed is so different than how men are treated, For me it is tied to such self-loathing and being a “baaaaad” girl – even though I am exemplary in the other aspects of my life.

          1. There is absolutely no reason to ever feel shame for doing anything ever unless it is an actual wrong action like murder, rape, abusing someone, stealing etc. Using a legal substance should be seen by all genders as ok. Actually if I met another woman who dipped tobacco and she was ashamed I would probably freak out on her, honestly. Get over the shame. Dont ever let anyone tell you what to be or do or act like EVER

        2. Can you help me? Im female. Been dipping for a loooooooooong ass time, mostly so I won’t eat. Anyway, I quit last april for a full year but then started back in Feb. I just quit a week ago because I woke up and my jaw was fricking klilling me and scared the living daylights out of me. i have been quit 9 days now but still have the pain. There are no sores or anything in my mouth. Is this normal?

          1. I don’t know what is considered normal but I did not experience that any of the times I was quitting. You may need to get your jaw looked at. Maybe dippers can develop TMJ? I would get it looked at, as scary as I am sure that sounds. Better to know now that not.

    2. Honestly it’s not the best suggestion, but I am a health not and work out like you do etc.. and I chewed like you. Today I haven’t had a dip in 5 weeks because I am smoking the Mark10 vapor cigs from 7-11. (Doesn’t destroy your lung capacity like cigs bit gives your gums a break). Then my next battle of course is to ween off of these ! Good luck.

  9. I am 28 and I recently quit smoking. I tried vaping and just craved a cigarette. I was reading about alternative ways to cope and came across SMC. I was iffy about it. I’ve tried Skoal before and secretly I liked it, but wouldn’t have ever admitted it. Now, I’m more honest to myself and I enjoy a can of SMC. Good taste and it keeps my mind from wanting… Needing a cigarette throughout the day.

  10. I just have to say thank God for you women! I have had his this addiction for 16 years and have tried to stop so many times…but then something happens that is way stressful and I am right back at it. No one would ever guess I had this habit. I feel so ashamed, but I am so greatful to know I am not the only woman who struggles with this. Thank you for sharing. I just joined the kill the can site and am trying to navigate it. I hope this is the first step to quitting for good!

  11. I have been dipping for about 9 years, I started very young just from seeing my brothers doing it I wanted to do it also. I dip, & smoke some too. My boyfriend has decided to quit smoking & so far hasn’t had a cigarette in three days. I have a lot of health problems & have decided that enough is enough, I don’t want to add another health problem to the list just because I was careless about my health. So starting tomorrow I will begin my journey of quitting. I have found that if I keep gum or sunflower seeds then I have no need for any tobacco at all but I would rather not replace one habit with another. Any advice?

  12. I just want to say I had dipped on and off since I was 9 years old. My step brother dipped so it was easy for me. I’m currently 21 years old. I quit cold turkey 5 months ago. I have two beautiful children whom will look up to me one day (ages 2 yrs old and 5 months old). Definitely was hard and still have major cravings but it was this site and you guys that helped me quit. I fight myself everyday to not buy a can but mind over matter wins every time. True motivation and inspiration. Quitting can be done, don’t give up, get your mind set on it and kill the can! Thank yall!

  13. I am having a hard time with dating and am wondering if I have bad breath and that is why they don’t call for another date after kissing me? I brush teeth and tongue before a date and don’t dip on a date. They don’t know I do it. Just wondering if after 2 years it makes my breath and me smell bad.

  14. When you have the answer let me know….37 years of a tin and a half of Cope a day. A had pretty good luck with a product called Stonewall years back. It was Tobacco in a pellet form like a Tic Tac…and it dissolved. I put Cope down and only used Stonewall in nicotine emergency. Also used Bac Off at same time. My mouth returned to normal…Stonewall went out of business and I went back to Cope.

  15. I am 26 years old. I have been chewing since 19. I chew a tin a day of skoal wintergreen. I am not a hillbilly toothless hag like people think when they associate women and chewing. I have an attractive face, long hair, and live in a big city. I am not embarrassed to chew in front of people. I don’t care how people look at me or what they say. I chew in the shower, while grocery shopping, I chew while sleeping and basically all other times of the day. I am severely addicted to chew, physically. I desperately want to quit. I’ve tried nicotine patches and I’ve tried buying a vapor hookah. Nothing has worked. Do you have amy advice? I take serious care of my teeth, and they are white and straight…you would never guess I chew a tin a day. But my gums are receding and I have pains in deffierent part of my mouth. Any advice anyone has would be appreciated. I’m starting to fear the possible inevitability of cancer if I do not quit asap. Thank you.

    1. I quit about 5 years ago and it was not easy. I reached a certain point where I realized I was just used to having something in my mouth. I used mint snuff to get off nicotine and eventually got to where I don’t use anything. I still have a hard time if I smell it to not to think about it. I work around mostly men and a lot of them dip or chew. You can do it though. If you need any advice or support, let me know!

    2. Kayla, I realize this message is 3 months old, but I hope you got help.
      You only being 26 seems like your body still has been able to absorb all the damage up until now.
      You basically just need a date to start your quit and be serious about it, no one else can do it for you.
      For some of us it takes a health scare to finally decide to stop for good.

      I am glad that your symptoms are minor at this point, but as time progresses they will become more severe since your body will not be able to defend against carcinogens. It is better for you to stop now out of your own will as opposed to having to do it because of a major health threat.

      Not trying to scare you or anything, because believe me I heard it all myself, but nothing faced me, it wasn’t until I said enough and started quitting on my own that i started the journey to heal. It is hard as hell, but we have to do it.

      Here is a story of a male nurse that saw the last days of a dipper in the ICU unit that he worked at.
      He said the scenes were of a horror movie, and the pain that the victim was going through was excruciating. Nothing of the pain killers we have could control much of the pain experienced by that man. After seeing that, the Nurse quit Dipping.
      We all have a threshold that we need to experience in order to take action, perhaps that moment, hasn’t happened to you…..

      Good Luck to you.

Leave a Reply

Flaviar - The Gift That Keeps On Giving
Back to top button