Snuff use and smoking in U.S. men: implications for harm reduction

Am J Prev Med. 2002 Oct;23(3):143-9. doi: 10.1016/s0749-3797(02)00491-9.


Background: Encouraging smokers to switch to snuff may have unintended public health implications. This study examined the associations between snuff use and smoking in a representative sample of U.S. men.

Methods: Subjects were males aged >or=18 years in the National Health Interview Survey (N=13,865). The data analysis was conducted between August 2001 and April 2002. Multiple logistic regression modeling was used to examine the association between using snuff and quitting smoking.

Results: In 1998, 26.4% of U.S. men smoked, 3.6% used snuff, and 1.1% used both products. Adjusting for age and race/ethnicity, current smoking was most prevalent among males who used snuff on some days (38.9%) and lowest among those who used snuff every day (19.2%). Daily snuff users were significantly more likely than never-users to have quit smoking in the preceding 12 months (odds ratio [OR]=4.23; 95% confidence interval [CI]=2.16-8.28). However, U.S. men were more likely to be former snuff users who currently smoked (2.5%) than to be former smokers who currently used snuff (1.0%). Occasional snuff users (some day users) were more likely than never users to have tried to quit smoking in the preceding year (OR=1.69; 95% CI=1.04-2.76) but tended to be less likely to succeed (OR=0.50; 95% CI=0.19-1.33).

Conclusions: Some men may use snuff to quit smoking, but U.S. men more commonly switch from snuff use to smoking. Some smokers may use snuff to supplement their nicotine intake, and smokers who also use snuff are more likely than nonusers to try to quit smoking but tend to have less success.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Harm Reduction*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Smoking Prevention
  • Tobacco, Smokeless*
  • United States / epidemiology