Chewing tobacco is typically manufactured as several varieties of product – most often as loose leaf (or scrap), pellets (tobacco "bites" or "bits"), and "plug" (a form of loose leaf tobacco condensed with a binding sweetener). Nearly all modern chewing tobaccos are produced via a process of leaf curing, cutting, fermentation and processing or sweetening. Historically, many American chewing tobacco brands (which were popular during the American Civil War era) were made with cigar clippings.
Chewing is one of the oldest methods of consuming tobacco. Native Americans in both North and South America chewed the leaves of the plant, frequently mixed with the mineral lime. Chewing tobacco was the most prevalent form of tobacco use in the United States until it was overtaken by cigarette smoking in the early 20th century.