Do never smokers make up an increasing share of snus users as cigarette smoking declines? Changes in smoking status among male snus users in Norway 2003-15

Addiction. 2017 Feb;112(2):340-348. doi: 10.1111/add.13638. Epub 2016 Dec 5.


Aims: To examine how the relative size of six groups of male ever snus users (current and former users of snus who were current, former or never cigarette smokers) varied over time in Norway, and how these groups differ with regard to important measures of tobacco behaviour.

Design: Repeated cross-sectional nationally representative surveys of tobacco use. The association between survey year and the six categories of ever snus use was examined using cross-tabulation and multinomial logistic regression. Differences in tobacco behaviour across snus use categories were examined using logistic and ordinary least squares (OLS) regression.

Setting: Norway, 2003-15.

Participants: A total of 2067 males aged 15-79 years.

Measurements: The categories of ever snus use represented all six combinations of cigarette smoking (current, former or never) among current and former users of snus. The variables measuring tobacco behaviour were: order of product uptake (snus or cigarettes first), mean cigarette consumption, reduction from daily to occasional smoking, intention to quit cigarettes, future smoking identity and use of snus in latest quit attempt.

Findings: During the period 2003-15, the relative share of current snus users who had never smoked, and current snus users who were former smokers, increased. The share of dual users, and smokers who were former snus users, decreased. Among men who reported life-time experience with both products, a large majority had initiated their tobacco use with cigarettes. The average number of cigarettes smoked weekly was lower among dual users compared with current smokers who were former snus users or had never used snus.

Conclusions: During the period 2003-15 in Norway, which has a mature snus market, even though smoking has declined and the relative size of the category of never-smokers among male users of snus has increased, the majority of snus users are still former or current smokers.

Keywords: Nicotine alternatives; public health; smokeless; snus; tobacco; tobacco harm reduction.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cigarette Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Tobacco, Smokeless / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult