Smokeless tobacco products are either chewed, snuffed orally, nasally, rubbed on teeth and gums gargled or drunk. Usage varies in various geographic locality, ingredient availability, cultural/societal norms, and personal preferences.

Smokeless tobacco (SLT) products range in complexity from simple cured tobacco to elaborate products with numerous chemical ingredients and, in some cases includes non-tobacco plant material that may affect the attractiveness, addictiveness, and toxicity of the products. For certain products, preparation, ingredient selection (including non-tobacco plant materials) is specific.

In terms of production and preparation, SLT can be broadly divided into premade and custom-made products . Premade SLT products, which are made for sale and generally consumed as purchased (i.e., “ready-to-use”), can be subdivided into:

  1. Commercial products (i.e., moist snuff, snus, khaini) that are made in traditional manufacturing settings such as factories or production facilities.
  2. Cottage products (toombak, nasway, mainpuri, mawa) that are made in non-traditional production environments (market stalls, shops, houses, etc.) and often sold in non-commercial packaging (paper or plastic bags; wrapped in paper).