Perceptions of Snus among US adult smokers given free product

Ellen Meier, Jessica L. Burris, Amy Wahlquist, Elizabeth Garrett-Mayer, Kevin M. Gray, Anthony J. Alberg, K. Michael Cummings, Matthew J. Carpenter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Introduction: Snus uptake is nominal among US smokers. This longitudinal study examines (1) perceptions of snus among US smokers given free snus for 6 weeks and (2) a method for assessment of an alternative tobacco product at the population level. Methods: Adult smokers (n = 543; 69.2% female; Mage = 49.3 years), uninterested in quitting, received free snus for ad libitum use. Based on their snus use during a 6-week sampling period, participants included: (1) never users (18.4%, n = 100); (2) experimenters; that is, used ≥ once, but not during the last week of sampling (33.1%; n = 180); and (3) persistent users; that is, used ≥ once during the final week, and ≥ once during any other week of the sampling period. (48.4%; n = 263). Results: Following the sampling period, those who became persistent users were more likely than experimenters to report that switching to alternative tobacco products would lower their risk for health problems (66.5% vs. 50.0%; p = .006). Persistent users also reported greater negative affect relief and craving reduction (ps < .001) than experimenters. Finally, persistent users were more likely than experimenters to describe snus in favorable terms with respect to ease of use, satisfaction, and liking (ps < .05). Conclusions: Subjective experiences with snus, rather than nicotine dependence, explained experimentation versus persistent use. Even among smokers who became persistent snus users, snus was perceived as a poor substitute for cigarettes. This study design (randomized, yet naturalistic) could be extended to other novel tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to help understand the role new products may have in the tobacco landscape. Implications: This is the first large scale, US-based naturalistic assessment of smokers' reactions to snus during an extended sampling period. This study is directly in line with FDA goals to better understand predictors of initiation, uptake, and use of other tobacco products such as snus, and serves as model for assessment methods of alternative tobacco products at the population level. Most smokers tried the provided sample of snus (approximately 82%). Subjective experiences with snus, rather than nicotine dependence, explained experimentation versus persistent use. Even among smokers who became persistent snus users, snus was perceived as a poor substitute for cigarettes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-29
Number of pages8
JournalNicotine and Tobacco Research
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Research reported in this publication was supported by grants R01 CA154992 (MJC), K07 CA181351 (JLB), T32 DA007097 (EM), P30 CA138313 (Hollings Cancer Center Support Grant) from the National Cancer Institute and National Institute of Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health and UL1 TR000062 from the National Center for Advancing Translational Science of the National Institutes of Health. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the funding agencies.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 The Author(s).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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