Proposed definition of a smokeless tobacco user based on "potential" nicotine consumption

Addict Behav. 1988;13(4):395-400. doi: 10.1016/0306-4603(88)90047-0.


This study examined and operationally defined "light," "moderate," and "heavy" users of smokeless tobacco according to the potential amounts of nicotine consumed per week from chewing tobacco and/or snuff products. Fifty adult male smokeless tobacco users ranging in ages from 18-85 were tested to determine nicotine content of smokeless tobacco products consumed. The smokeless tobacco products were blindly analyzed by gas chromatography to determine nicotine content. Mean nicotine yield per week was calculated by multiplying the number of cans and/or pouches used per week and placed on a normal probability distribution. The mean nicotine yielded 238 mg/wk and the categories emerged as "light" less than or equal to 87 mg/wk, "moderate" 88-388 mg/wk and "heavy" users greater than or equal to 389 mg/wk. Differences regarding type of user (light, moderate, heavy) were crossed tabbed with educational levels, years of smokeless tobacco use, age the habit was initiated, perception of harm and whether habit forming, and reason for using smokeless tobacco.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nicotine / analysis*
  • Plants, Toxic*
  • Tobacco / analysis*
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / classification
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / etiology*
  • Tobacco, Smokeless / analysis*


  • Nicotine