Effect of smokeless tobacco product marketing and use on population harm from tobacco use policy perspective for tobacco-risk reduction

Am J Prev Med. 2007 Dec;33(6 Suppl):S379-86. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2007.09.015.


This article presents policy perspectives on the marketing of smokeless tobacco products to reduce population harm from tobacco use. Despite consensus that smokeless tobacco products as sold in the United States are less dangerous than cigarettes, there is no consensus on how to proceed. Diverse factions have different policy concerns. While the tobacco industry is exempted from U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversight, the pharmaceutical industry whose nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) medicines compete with smokeless tobacco as noncombustible nicotine-delivery systems are regulated by the FDA. Some public health experts support smokeless tobacco use to reduce population harm from tobacco; other public health experts oppose promoting smokeless tobacco for harm reduction. Adult consumers can freely purchase currently-marketed smokeless tobacco products and even more-deadly cigarettes. Concerns with and advantages of smokeless tobacco products are discussed. In that noncombustible medicinal nicotine-delivery systems have been proven to be effective smoking-cessation aids, smokeless tobacco, as another source of psychoactive doses of nicotine, could be used similarly, in a dose-response fashion as a smoking-cessation aid (consistent with FDA principles for evaluating generic versions of drugs). Price measures should be used on tobacco products to make costs to consumers proportional to product health risks (which would make smokeless tobacco much cheaper than cigarettes), and smokeless tobacco should be encouraged as an option for smoking cessation in adult smokers, particularly for those who have failed to stop smoking using NRT or other methods.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Harm Reduction
  • Health Policy / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Humans
  • Marketing / methods*
  • Smoking Cessation / methods*
  • Smoking Prevention
  • Tobacco Industry / organization & administration
  • Tobacco, Smokeless / adverse effects*
  • United States