While the use of smokeless tobacco appears to have declined in 2016 from a recent peak in 2015, such products may be expanding their appeal from the traditional base of rural white men in the West and Midwest to include women, minorities and metropolitan area dwellers, according to a study conducted by tobacco researchers at the School of Public Health at Georgia State University.
The findings are published in the article “Prevalence and Factors Associated with Smokeless Tobacco Use,
2014 – 2016” published in the American Journal of Health Behavior.
Researchers used data from the 2014, 2015 and 2016 Tobacco Products and Risk Perceptions Surveys conducted by the Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science (TCORS) at the School of Public Health. They used probability samples of 5,717, 6,051 and 6,014 U.S. adults, respectively.
The study found that current use of smokeless tobacco products such as chewing tobacco, snuff and snus (a moist tobacco product originally from Sweden) was 2.3 percent in 2014, 3.6 percent in 2015 and 2.7 percent in 2016.
While the most likely current users are still males without a college degree, who are residents of the West and Midwest, the researchers said their analysis suggests those associations are weakening and use of such products should be “monitored continuously, particularly among females, racial/ethnic minorities, and those residing in metropolitan areas.” The researchers also noted that marketing of the products has moved into publications that appeal to women, higher income people and others outside the traditional target markets for such products.
The authors are Ms. Dina M. Jones, Dr. Scott R. Weaver, Dr. Terry Pechacek, and Dean Michael P. Eriksen, all affiliated with TCORS, Dr. Ban Majeed of the Medical College of Georgia, and Dr. Kymberle Sterling of the Battelle Memorial Institute.
TCORS, established at Georgia State in 2013, takes a multi-disciplinary approach to understanding the human and economic factors that contribute to tobacco use. The center seeks to generate research to inform government decision-making about tobacco products to protect public health.