Other Tobacco Products
Smokeless ("spit") tobacco use is a public health problem on the rise. As more communities pass smoke-free laws banning cigarette smoking indoors, more people are beginning to use tobacco products that don’t cause smoke. However, using smokeless tobacco is not a safe alternative to smoking cigarettes.
Types of Smokeless Tobacco
There are many different kinds of spit tobacco, and snuff is the most popular type.
Snuff is moist, finely chopped tobacco that is placed between the cheek and gum and doesn’t require chewing. Some snuff is packaged in individual serving bags, so people can use it without spitting.
Chewing tobacco, another form of spit tobacco, comes in three types: loose leaf, plugs, and twists. Loose leaf is shredded tobacco leaves made into strips; plugs are pressed into small, soft blocks flavored with licorice and sugar and then dried; and twists are dried and twisted into hard spirals.
Health Effects of Smokeless Tobacco Use
Smokeless tobacco contains 28 cancer-causing chemicals. Its use increases the risk of developing cancer in the mouth. Many oral health problems are strongly linked with smokeless tobacco use. Smokeless tobacco use can also lead to nicotine addiction and dependence.
Current Estimate of Smokeless Tobacco Use in the U.S.
Smokeless tobacco use in the United States is higher in the following groups of people: young white males; American Indians/ Alaska Natives; people living in southern and northern central states; and people who are employed in blue collar occupations, service/ laborer jobs or who are unemployed.
In Nevada, an estimated 2.3 percent of adults use smokeless tobacco. Smokeless tobacco use is much higher among men (3.9 percent) than women (0.7 percent) (CDC, 2011).
An estimated 4.5 percent of high school students in Nevada also use smokeless tobacco (YRBS, 2013).
Marketing Smokeless Tobacco
From 1998 to 2010 (the most recent year for which data are available), the total advertising and marketing expenditures of the top-five smokeless tobacco companies in the U.S. increased by 205.4 percent. In 2010, these smokeless tobacco companies spent $444.2 million to advertise and market their products—an increase of more than 77 percent from 2005 expenditures ($250.8 million).
The two leading smokeless tobacco brands for users aged 12 years or older are Skoal (25%) and Copenhagen (24%).
Source: Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. “Smokeless Tobacco in the United States,” June 15, 2012.