Quantifying the effects of promoting smokeless tobacco as a harm reduction strategy in the USA.
ABSTRACT: Snus (a form of smokeless tobacco) is less dangerous than cigarettes. Some health professionals argue that snus should be promoted as a component of a harm reduction strategy, while others oppose this approach. Major US tobacco companies (RJ Reynolds and Philip Morris) are marketing snus products as cigarette brand line extensions. The population effects of smokeless tobacco promotion will depend on the combined effects of changes in individual risk with population changes in tobacco use patterns.To quantitatively evaluate the health impact of smokeless tobacco promotion as part of a harm reduction strategy in the US.A Monte Carlo simulation of a decision tree model of tobacco initiation and use was used to estimate the health effects associated with five different patterns of increased smokeless tobacco use.With cigarette smoking having a health effect of 100, the base case scenario (based on current US prevalence rates) yields a total health effect of 24.2 (5% to 95% interval 21.7 to 26.5) and the aggressive smokeless promotion (less cigarette use and increased smokeless, health-concerned smokers switching to snus, smokers in smokefree environments switching to snus) was associated with a health effect of 30.4 (5% to 95% interval 25.9 to 35.2). The anticipated health effects for additional scenarios with lower rates of smokeless uptake also overlapped with the base case.Promoting smokeless tobacco as a safer alternative to cigarettes is unlikely to result in substantial health benefits at a population level.
Project description:Introduction:Snus, a low nitrosamine smokeless tobacco product, presents less risks to health than cigarettes. Effectively communicating such risk information could facilitate smokers switching completely to snus, thereby benefiting public health. Methods:This study assessed comprehension and perceptions of modified-risk information regarding snus. Adult cigarette smokers, former tobacco users, and never tobacco users (N = 3,922) from a US internet panel viewed an advertisement stating that smokers who switched completely to snus could greatly reduce risk of lung cancer, respiratory disease, heart disease, and oral cancer. Respondents answered questions regarding the modified-risk information and rated perceived risks of snus relative to cigarettes and other smokeless tobacco products. Results:Across the four diseases mentioned in the advertisement, most respondents (49.7%-68.6%, across tobacco user groups) understood that snus presents less risk than cigarettes but is not completely safe. Some indicated snus presents the same risk as cigarettes; this was highest for oral cancer (33.7%-42.02%) and lowest for lung cancer (15.4%-23.1%) and respiratory disease (15.6%-23.4%). Majorities understood snus is addictive (77.7%-87.9%), quitting all tobacco is the best option for smokers (83.6%-93.1%), and non-users of tobacco should not use snus (80.4%-87.8%). Only 2.1%-5.8% indicated smokers would receive a health benefit if they continued to smoke while using snus. Conclusions:The modified-risk information, conveying that snus presents less risk than cigarettes but is not completely safe, was understood by majorities of respondents. Differential risk beliefs across diseases suggest responses were shaped not only by the modified-risk information, but also by intuitions and pre-existing beliefs about tobacco products.
Project description:<h4>Introduction</h4>The US Food and Drug Administration can require changes in warning statements for modified risk tobacco products. We report an independent analysis of a consumer perception survey sponsored by Swedish Match as part of a Modified Risk Tobacco Product application to change warning labels for Swedish snus products.<h4>Methods</h4>The survey exposed each of 4324 daily exclusive cigarette smokers, 1033 daily smokeless tobacco users, 1205 daily other tobacco users, 726 former users, and 5915 triers/never users to one of four current warnings and two proposed relative-risk labels (No tobacco product is safe, but this product presents lower risks to health than cigarettes, or No tobacco product is safe, but this product presents substantially lower risks to health than cigarettes) for snus. Descriptive and logistic regression analyses examined four outcomes: believability, harmfulness, motivation to use, and intention to buy snus.<h4>Results</h4>Compared with the current not-safe-alternative warning, adult tobacco users who viewed the proposed labels perceived them as less believable, perceived snus as less harmful and were more likely to use and buy snus. The proposed labels had no impact on former smokers' likelihood to use and buy snus; triers/never users viewing the substantially lower risk label were more likely to buy snus.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Tobacco users viewing the proposed labels perceived snus as less harmful than cigarettes and may be more likely to use and buy snus. If labeling changes lead to increased snus use and cigarette reduction or abstinence, public health may benefit. If the opposite occurs, public health could suffer.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Some smokeless tobacco products (SLT) have been shown to be associated with only a fraction of the risks of cigarettes. This study assessed South African smokers' interest in switching to a hypothetical reduced harm SLT product. METHODS: The 2007 South African Social Attitudes Survey was analysed for 678 exclusive cigarette smokers. Respondents were asked about their perceptions about relative harm of snuff compared to cigarettes, and their interest in switching to snuff if informed it was 99% less harmful than cigarettes. RESULTS: About 49.7% of exclusive cigarette smokers believed that snuff was equally as harmful as cigarettes; 12.9% thought snuff was more harmful; 5.7% thought snuff was less harmful; while 31.8% did not know if there was a difference in harm between snuff and cigarettes. Approximately 24.2% of exclusive cigarette smokers indicated interest in switching to snuff, with significantly greater interest observed among those exposed to 100% smoke-free work environment. Interest in switching was highest (34.7%) among smokers who believed a priori that using snuff was more harmful than cigarettes, and lowest (14.5%) among those who did not know if there was a difference in harm. In a multi-variable adjusted logistic regression model, this latter group remained less likely to be interested in harm reduction switching (adjusted odds ratio = 0.42; 95% CI: 0.19-0.91). CONCLUSION: About a quarter of smokers indicated interest in harm reduction switching to snuff. SLT products have a potential role in reducing the harm from smoking in South Africa, but only if they are not used to circumvent smoke-free laws that have been associated with reduced smoking.
Project description:The purpose of this study was to evaluate the prevalence and correlates of use of nicotine-containing tobacco products such as cigars, pipe tobacco, and cigarettes that promise less exposure to toxins; e-cigarettes; and smokeless tobacco products among a cohort of conventional cigarette smokers followed over the past decade. We also evaluated associations between use of such products and cigarette quitting.Participants were 6,110 adult smokers in the United States, who were interviewed as part of the International Tobacco Control Four Country Survey between 2002 and 2011. Respondents reported their concurrent use of other smoked tobacco products (including cigars, pipe tobacco, and cigarillos), smokeless tobacco products (including chewing tobacco, snus, and snuff), unconventional cigarettes (including Omni, Accord, and Eclipse), and electronic cigarettes. Prevalence and correlates of use and associations between use and cigarette quitting were assessed using regression analyses via generalized estimating equations.Most cigarette smokers did not use unconventional tobacco products, although use of any of these products started to rise at the end of the study period (2011). For each type of tobacco product evaluated, use was most prevalent among those aged 18-24 years. Smokers who did use unconventional tobacco products did not experience a clear cessation advantage.During the past decade, relatively few cigarette smokers reported also using other tobacco products. Those that did use such products were no more likely to stop using conventional cigarettes compared with those who did not use such products.
Project description:Epidemiological and toxicological evidence suggests lower risk of smokeless tobacco (ST) products compared to cigarettes. Less is known, however, about consumer perceptions and use of novel forms of ST, including snus and dissolvable tobacco.In this study, we conducted in-person experimental auctions in Buffalo, NY, Columbia, SC, and Selinsgrove, PA with 571 smokers to test the impact of information and product trials on smokers' preferences. Auctions were conducted between November 2010-November 2011.We found no evidence of an impact of product trials on demand in our auctions. Anti-ST information increased demand for cigarettes when presented alone, but when presented with pro-ST information it decreased demand for cigarettes. It did not decrease demand for ST products. Anti-smoking information increased demand for ST products, but did not affect cigarette demand.These findings suggest that credible and effective communications about tobacco harm reduction should reinforce the negative effects of smoking.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:To analyse the influences of parental use of cigarettes and snus (the Swedish variety of smokeless tobacco) on offspring's behaviour. DESIGN:Prospective cohort study. SETTING:The Stockholm County of Sweden. SUBJECTS:2232 adolescents recruited in the fifth grade (mean age 11.6 years) with follow up in the eighth grade. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:Self reported tobacco use (ever and current use of cigarettes and/or snus) in the eighth grade. RESULTS:Parents' tobacco use was associated with adolescents' current use of cigarettes and snus (odds ratio (OR) 2.7, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.8 to 3.9 if both parents used tobacco v neither parent). Mother's cigarette smoking was associated with adolescents' current exclusive smoking (OR 2.4, 95% CI 1.6 to 3.6). Father's use of snus was associated with current exclusive use of snus among boys (OR 3.0, 95% CI 1.4 to 6.4), but not with current cigarette use. The overall prevalence of current smoking was lower among children whose fathers used snus than among those whose fathers smoked. CONCLUSIONS:Parental smoking, especially maternal smoking, enhances the risk of tobacco experimentation in youths, as does paternal use of smokeless tobacco. However, the transition to regular cigarette smoking is not likely to be affected by paternal use of smokeless tobacco. Contextual factors, in particular declining smoking trends and negative social acceptance of smoking, can explain most of these findings.
Project description:To determine whether snus might become a strategy for reducing the harm associated with cigarette smoking in the USA as appears to be the case in Sweden, we examined receptivity to snus use in two cities with the greatest exposure to the major brands.A dual frame, telephone survey and a brief mail survey were conducted in 2011 and 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana and Dallas/Fort Worth Texas. Over 5000 adults completed surveys. Trial, ever use, current use and reasons for using or quitting snus after trial were measured.Among male smokers, 29.9% had ever tried snus (CI 22.7 to 38.1) and 4.2% were current users (CI 1.6 to 10.7). Among female smokers, 8.5% ever tried snus (CI 4.4 to 15.7) and current use was unknown. Current use was virtually absent among former smokers and never smokers. A major predictor of any level of snus use was current use of conventional smokeless tobacco. Those who tried and gave up snus cited curiosity (41.3%) and the fact that it was available at low or no cost (30%) as reasons for trial; reasons for not continuing included preferring another form of tobacco (75.1%) and disliking the mouth feel (34.6%). Almost all current snus users indicated that they were trying to cut down on cigarettes, but few (3.9%) were using it to quit smoking entirely.The low rate of adoption of snus suggests that neither the hopes nor the fears surrounding this new product are likely to be realised in the USA with the current marketing patterns.
Project description:<h4>Introduction</h4>Alternative tobacco products, such as snus, are emerging in the U.S. market. Understanding correlates of awareness and use, particularly judgments about harm and addictiveness, can inform public health communications about these products.<h4>Methods</h4>Data were collected from a web panel representative of the U.S. population in March 2013 (N = 2,067). The survey assessed awareness and use of snus among adults. Absolute and comparative snus judgments, intentions, smoking status, and sociodemographic variables were measured. Bivariate and multivariable logistic regression analyses were conducted to examine associations between these variables and snus awareness and use.<h4>Results</h4>Nearly 36% of the population was aware of snus, and 5.2% reported ever using snus. Current cigarette smokers were about 4 times more likely as nonsmokers to report snus awareness and use. Sociodemographic correlates of snus awareness and use included being male, employed full time, and younger. Compared with respondents who perceived snus to be as harmful and as addictive as cigarettes, those who perceived snus to be less harmful and less addictive than cigarettes were more likely to have used snus.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Current smokers are more likely to be aware of and have used snus. Multiple tobacco product use poses a significant challenge for public health efforts to reduce tobacco-associated morbidity and mortality. Perceptions that snus is less harmful and less addictive compared with cigarettes are associated with snus use. These judgments can inform public health communications about emerging tobacco products and multiple product use.
Project description:<h4>Introduction</h4>Based on arguments for harm reduction and health benefits, tobacco companies in the United States can apply for regulatory authorization to make "modified risk tobacco product" (MRTP) marketing claims. The impact of future MRTP claims may depend on whether they are noticed, believed, and lead to smokers switching products. This study provides baseline data about smokers' exposure to perceived MRTP claims ahead of any MRTP authorizations.<h4>Aims and methods</h4>We analyzed measures from Wave 3 of the US-based Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) study which asked smokers to indicate if they had seen any e-cigarettes, snus, or other smokeless tobacco (SLT) products that claim to be "less harmful" in the past 12 months, and their likelihood of using products with these claims in the next 30 days.<h4>Results</h4>Significantly fewer smokers noted having seen snus (5.1%) or other SLT (5.6%) with "less harmful" claims compared with e-cigarettes (29.1%). For each product, the prevalence of MRTP claim exposure was higher among smokers who perceived the product to be less harmful than smoking, who currently used the product, and who had higher rates of tobacco advertising exposure at the point of sale. Among smokers who noticed products with "less harmful" claims, about one-quarter said they would use them in the future (24%-27%).<h4>Conclusions</h4>Ahead of any Food & Drug Administration (FDA) authorization for MRTP claims, some smokers already perceive exposure to "less harmful" claims for e-cigarettes, but few do for SLT. MRTP claims may motivate some smokers to use these products.<h4>Implications</h4>This study provides new baseline data about smokers' perceived exposure to MRTP claims in the United States ahead of any regulatory claim authorization. Using data from Wave 3 of the US PATH study, we found that some smokers already perceive exposure to "less harmful" claims for e-cigarettes (29%), but few do for SLT (5%-6%). Among smokers who noticed products with "less harmful" claims, about one-quarter said they would use them in the future (24%-27%), suggesting MRTP claims may motivate some smokers to use products described as "less harmful."
Project description:Snus is an oral smokeless tobacco product which is usually placed behind the upper lip, either in a loose form or in portioned sachets, and is primarily used in Sweden and Norway. The purpose of this review is to examine the reported effects of snus use in relation to specified health effects, namely lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, pancreatic cancer, diabetes, oral cancer and non-neoplastic oral disease. The review also examines the harm reduction potential of snus as an alternative to cigarettes by comparing the prevalence of snus use and cigarette smoking, and the reported incidence of tobacco-related diseases across European Union countries. The scientific literature generally indicates that the use of snus is not a significant risk factor for developing lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, pancreatic cancer or oral cancer. Studies investigating snus use and diabetes have reported that high consumption of snus (estimated as being four or more cans per week) may be associated with a higher risk of developing diabetes or components of metabolic syndrome; however, overall results are not conclusive. Snus use is associated with the presence of non-neoplastic oral mucosal lesions which are reported to heal rapidly once use has stopped. The most recent Eurobarometer data from 2017 reported that Sweden had the lowest prevalence of daily cigarette use in the European Union at 5% whilst daily "oral tobacco" use was reported to be 20%. European data published by the World Health Organisation in 2018 indicated that Sweden had the lowest rate of tobacco-related mortality and the lowest incidence of male lung cancer. Overall, prevalence statistics and epidemiological data indicate that the use of snus confers a significant harm reduction benefit which is reflected in the comparatively low levels of tobacco-related disease in Sweden when compared with the rest of Europe. The available scientific data, including long-term population studies conducted by independent bodies, demonstrates that the health risks associated with snus are considerably lower than those associated with cigarette smoking.