News and Events

The Issue of Smokeless Tobacco
January 17, 2017

Smokeless tobacco is not burned, contains nicotine and is addictive.Smokeless tobacco is typically called spit tobacco, chewing tobacco, chew, dip, plug, and probably a few other things. Types of smokeless tobacco include:

 
THE ISSUE

Smokeless tobacco is not safe and can lead to nicotine addiction.Many smokeless tobacco products contain cancer-causing chemicals. Smokeless tobacco can cause cancer of the mouth, esophagus, and pancreas. Smokeless tobacco can cause gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss. Smokeless tobacco products can also increase the risk of death from heart disease and stroke.

Many smokeless tobacco products come in flavors and packaging that appeal to young people. Candy and fruit flavors mask the bad taste of tobacco, making it easier for youth and teens to start using tobacco. With a new range of products and flavors on the market, there are more opportunities for young people to experiment with tobacco. Adolescent smokeless tobacco users are more likely than nonusers to become adult cigarette smokers.

Major U.S. cigarette companies, including R.J. Reynolds and Altria, have acquired smokeless tobacco brands. The marketing of smokeless tobacco products has also significantly increased. In 2013, tobacco companies spent more than $503 million on advertising and promotion of smokeless tobacco products– that’s more than double what was spent 10 years earlier in 2003.Much of this spending was used to pay for price cuts through coupons, sales, and giveaways.

Even without price cuts, many smokeless products cost less than conventional cigarettes, appealing both to young people and low-income communities.The difference in smokeless tobacco use among rural and non-rural populations in Florida is sizable. While only 2.4 percent of non-rural Floridian adults use smokeless tobacco, 6.3 percent of rural adults use these products – an astounding increase of 162.5 percent. This disparity is mirrored in youth use as well. While 3.1 percent of non-rural youth (ages 11-17) use smokeless tobacco, 7.4 percent of rural youth use the products (a 138.7 percent increase).

 

ADVOCACY

You can talk to your local officials to let them know you are concerned about the tobacco industry’s marketing tactics that target children and other vulnerable populations. Working together, you may be able to influence decision-makers to take action. You can also help encourage local venues and events to go 100% tobacco free – not just smokefree.

For information on working on this issue in your community, contactLea Rhoden at LRhoden@QuitDoc.com.

 


*Additional research is needed to examine long-term effects of newer smokeless tobacco products, such as dissolvables and U.S. snus.

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