Introduction: We assessed US adult smokeless tobacco (SLT) users' exposure and response to SLT health warnings, which are currently in text-only format, covering 30% of the two primary surfaces of SLT containers and 20% of advertisements.
Methods: Data were from the 2012-2013 National Adult Tobacco Survey. Past 30-day exposure to SLT health warnings among past 30-day SLT users (n=1626) was a self-report of seeing warnings on SLT packages: "Very often," "Often," or "Sometimes" (versus "Rarely" or "Never"). We measured the association between SLT health warning exposure and perceptions of SLT harmfulness and addictiveness using logistic regression.
Results: Of past 30-day SLT users, 77.5% reported exposure to SLT health warnings, with lower prevalence reported among females and users of novel SLT products (snus/dissolvable tobacco). Furthermore, exposure reduced linearly with reducing education and annual household income (p<0.01). Among exposed past 30-day SLT users, 73.9% reported thinking about the health risks of SLT, while 17.1% reported stopping SLT use on ≥1 occasion within the past 30days. Exposure to SLT warnings was associated with perceived SLT harmfulness (AOR=2.16; 95% CI=1.15-4.04), but not with perceived SLT addictiveness.
Conclusion: Socioeconomic disparities found in exposure and response to SLT health warnings can be addressed through implementation of large pictorial warnings.
Keywords: Chewing tobacco; Health policy; Smokeless tobacco; Snuff; Snus; Tobacco control; Warning labels.
Published by Elsevier Inc.