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Spit (Smokeless) Tobacco


This lesson will help students identify the short- and long-term effects of smokeless tobacco use.


Intended Learning Outcomes

Identify the short- and long-term effects of smokeless tobacco use.

Instructional Procedures

Lesson at a Glance

  1. Explain the different types of smokeless tobacco.
  2. Discuss the reasons teens might use spit tobacco.
  3. Distribute the "Health Effects of Spit Tobacco" worksheet and discuss the short- and long- term effects of using smokeless tobacco.
  4. Conduct the eggshell stain, smokeless tobacco abrasion, and Tootsie Roll® activities.
  5. Reinforce the reasons for not using tobacco and make a top ten list.

New Vocabulary

  • abrasion/injury
  • cancer
  • constricted
  • leukoplakia
  • precancerous

Introduction (Setting Focus)

  1. Discuss the various types and forms of spit (smokeless) tobacco.
    1. Snuff is finely cut or powdered tobacco. There is a dry powdered form, such as Levi Garrett, and a slightly damp form called moist snuff, such as Skoal or Copenhagen.
    2. Chewing tobacco is made from large pieces of a tobacco leaf and comes in three forms. Loose leaf comes in pouches (Red Man, Mall Pouch, or Beech-Nut).
    3. Plug comes in plastic-wrapped bars.
    4. Twist-and-roll is twisted into a pigtail shape and comes in a wrapper.
    Discuss the addictive qualities of smokeless tobacco;
    1. Nicotine is more addictive than heroin.
    2. Tobacco companies sell long, sugary cut dip that's easy for a new dipper to handle.
    3. As customers gets used to the buzz from the nicotine, they want more.
    4. Users start dipping more. They start trying finer cut brands with more nicotine to satisfy their need. That's exactly what the tobacco companies want customers to do.
    5. Dipping is addictive.
  2. Discuss reasons some teens might use spit tobacco:
    1. Spitting tobacco gives you a buzz or a high.
    2. Athletes, cowboys, friends, or parents use spitting tobacco.
    3. Using spit tobacco is less dangerous than smoking cigarettes.
    4. Using spit tobacco makes you look cool.

Body (Strategies/Activities)

  1. Students complete the "Health Effects of Spit Tobacco" worksheet during the course of the discussion.
  2. Make two columns on the blackboard with the titles "short-term effects" and "long-term effects."
  3. Use the following prompts and ideas to discuss the effects of smokeless tobacco. Also refer to the teacher's resource sheet.
    1. Eggshell stain activity
      • The shell of an egg is similar to our teeth. This demonstration illustrates one of the consequences of smokeless tobacco use by showing that in only two days, the shell of an egg becomes visibly stained.
      • Hard boil an egg.
      • Place the egg in a container of spit tobacco that has been moistened with water.
      • Set the egg aside for two to three days. Make sure to keep the tobacco moist.
      • Remove the egg and show it to the class.
      • Discuss the results. How does this experiment demonstrate to spit tobacco's effect on the body?
    2. Smokeless tobacco abrasion activity
      • Show a clear jar with sand and sugar.
      • Spit tobacco naturally contains a lot of sand, grit, and sometimes fiberglass.
      • These products injure the gums and cause nicotine to be absorbed more readily into the bloodstream.
      • The grit wears down tooth enamel, affects the biting surface, causes improper bite, yellows the teeth, and causes tooth sensitivity.
    3. Tootsie Roll® activity
      • Give each student a small Tootsie Roll® and have them put it in their mouth between the lip and the teeth.
      • Give each student a small cup.
      • Students are not allowed to swallow for about 60 seconds.
      • After 60 seconds, students spit the contents of their mouth into the cup.
      • Discuss the activity with the following prompts:
        How much saliva was generated by having the candy in your mouth?
        What did the spit look like?
        What do smokeless tobacco users do with the saliva?
        What did you find gross about this activity?

Closure (Wrap-Up and Extension)

  1. Display and discuss the poster "SPIT (Smokeless) TOBACCO."
  2. As a review, come up with a class "Top Ten Reasons for Not Using Spit Tobacco" list and display it in the classroom.


Additional Resources

  1. American Cancer Society (1-800-234-0533) Contact ACS to check availability.
    • "Mr. Gross Mouth" display
    • Dipping and Chewing, a five-minute video
    • "If You're Dipping Snuff, You Should Know The Truth" pamphlet
    • "Smokeless Tobacco, A Chemical Time Bomb" pamphlet
  2. Utah Department of Health, Tobacco Prevention and Control Program Tobacco Free Resource Line: 1-877-220-3466

    Free resources such as material, videos, brochures, and posters

Created: 12/21/2009
Updated: 01/17/2020