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Smokeless tobacco use 1992–2002: trends and measurement in the Current Population Survey-Tobacco Use Supplements
  1. E A Mumford1,
  2. D T Levy2,
  3. J G Gitchell3,
  4. K O Blackman1
  1. 1Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, Calverton, Maryland, USA
  2. 2Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, Department of Economics, University of Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
  3. 3Pinney Associates, Bethesda, Maryland, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 Elizabeth A Mumford
 PhD, Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, 11710 Beltsville DR, Calverton, MD 20705, USA; mumford{at}


Background: As smoking prevalence declines in the United States, it is important to understand if smokeless tobacco (SLT) use is also changing and if so, among what groups.

Methods: We examine the prevalence of SLT use and smoking, 1992–2002, using the Current Population Survey-Tobacco Use Supplements (CPS-TUS), which used US nationally representative samples based on stratified clusters of households.

Results: Consistent with declines in smoking, the prevalence of current SLT use declined over the period 1992–2002 for males and females ages 18 and older. The overall separate declines in SLT use and in smoking are mirrored by a decline in concurrent use of SLT and cigarettes. SLT use is becoming more associated with white males, but use is declining faster among the youngest males.

Conclusions: The findings indicate that relative reductions in smoking prevalence are exceeded by relative reductions in SLT use, with sizeable reductions in concurrent use. These results suggest that the stricter cigarette policies of recent years may not only reduce cigarette use, but also the use of alternative tobacco products. In light of potential policy implications of SLT use as a potential reduced exposure product (PREP), current survey methods require more careful measurement of SLT use in terms of initiation, duration, quantity, and cessation.

  • CPS-TUS, Current Population Survey-Tobacco Use Supplements
  • ERS, Economic Research Service
  • MSA, Metropolitan Statistical Area
  • NHANES, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
  • NHIS, National Health Interview Survey
  • NSDUH, National Survey on Drug Use & Health
  • PREP, potential reduced exposure product
  • SLT, smokeless tobacco
  • USDA, United States Department of Agriculture
  • smokeless tobacco
  • smoking
  • epidemiology
  • data collection
  • harm reduction

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  • Competing interest: none declared

  • Ethics approval: The research protocol leading to this study was submitted to an Internal Review Board at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, which subsequently deemed the research to be exempt from review under 45 CFR 46.101(b)(4).