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Smokeless Tobacco Use in the United States


Overview

This fact sheet provides the latest data and information on:

  • How many people use smokeless tobacco and other tobacco products.
  • What is being done to protect the public's health from the harmful effects of smokeless tobacco use.

Smokeless tobacco is not a safe alternative to smoking. Learn more about who uses it and what measures are in place to protect the public's health.

Adult Smokeless Tobacco Use (National)

As shown in the graph below, smokeless tobacco use among females has remained low throughout the years. Among males, use decreased from 1986-2000 but has been increasing since then.1

Image of trends among adults who use smokeless tobacco

Percentage of Adults Who Were Current Smokeless Tobacco Users in 20121

  • Adults aged 18 years and older: nearly 4 in every 100 (3.6%)
  • Men: about 7 in every 100 (7.1%)
  • Women: fewer than 1 in every 100 (0.4%)
  • Non-Hispanic African Americans: nearly 2 in every 100 (1.9%)
  • Non-Hispanic American Indians/Alaska Natives: more than 9 in every 100 (9.3%)
  • Non-Hispanic Asians: fewer than 1 in every 100 (0.4%)
  • Hispanics: about 1 in every 100 (1.2%)
  • Non-Hispanic Whites: nearly 5 in every 100 (4.7%)

NOTE:
In the list above, "current smokeless tobacco use" means using chewing tobacco or snuff on 1 or more of the 30 days before participation in a survey about this topic. Dissolvable tobacco, dip, and U.S. snus were not measured.

  • High rates of use were also found among:1
    • Young adult males (aged 18–25 years): more than 10 in every 100 (10.5%)
    • Non-Hispanic White males: more than 9 in every 100 (9.3%)
    • American Indian/Alaska Native males: about 16 in every 100 (16.2%)
    • Males with a high school education: nearly 9 in every 100 (8.7%)
    • Males with some college education: more than 8 in every 100 (8.5%)
    • Males who live in the Midwest: 9 in every 100 (9.0%)
    • Males who live in the South: more than 8 in every 100 (8.4%)

Adult Smokeless Tobacco Use (State-Specific)

  • In 2013, current smokeless tobacco use was highest in:2
    • West Virginia: more than 9 in every 100 people (9.4%)
    • Wyoming: nearly 9 in every 100 people (8.8%)
    • Mississippi: more than 8 in every 100 people (8.5%)
    • Montana: 8 in every 100 people (8.0%)
  • In 2013, current smokeless tobacco use was lowest in:2
    • Massachusetts and the District of Columbia: about 1 in every 100 people (1.5%)
    • California: about 1 in every 100 people (1.6%)
    • Hawaii and New Jersey: nearly 2 in every 100 people (1.7%)
  • NOTE:
    In the list above, "current smokeless tobacco use" means using chewing tobacco, snuff, or snus every day or some days at the time of the survey.

Youth Smokeless Tobacco Use

The table below shows the percentage of high school students who were current users of smokeless tobacco, snus, and dissolvable tobacco in 2014.

Image of teens

High School Students in 20143Current Use of Smokeless TobaccoCurrent Use of U.S. SnusCurrent Use of Dissolvable Tobacco

NOTE:
In the table above—

  • Percentages represent approximately how many people in every 100 people use a specific smokeless tobacco product. For example, 6.4% represents more than 6 in every 100 people, and 0.8% represents fewer than 1 in every 100 people.
  • "Current use of smokeless tobacco use" means using chewing tobacco, snuff, or dip on 1 or more of the 30 days before participation in a survey about this topic.
  • "Current use of U.S. snus" and "current use of dissolvables" means using snus or dissolvables on 1 or more of the 30 days before participation in a survey about this topic.

    † Data considered unreliable because sample size was less than 50.
Overall5.5%1.9%0.6%
Males9.9%3.0%0.8%
Females1.2%0.8%0.4%
White non-Hispanic7.8%2.4%0.6%
Black non-Hispanic1.1%0.6%
Hispanic3.1%1.5%0.7%

Among middle school students, overall current use in 2014 was—3

  • 1.6% for smokeless tobacco
  • 0.5% for snus
  • 0.3% for dissolvable tobacco

Multiple Product Use

According to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health:1

  • About 1 in every 100 youth aged 12–17 years (1.1%) and nearly 4 in every 100 young adults aged 18–25 years (3.9%) were current users of smokeless tobacco and at least one other tobacco product.
  • About 1 in every 100 adults aged 26 years or older (1.2%) were current users of smokeless tobacco and at least one other tobacco product.

Measures to Protect the Public's Health

Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act

In 2009, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (FSPTCA) gave the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the authority to regulate the manufacture, distribution, and marketing of tobacco products, including smokeless tobacco. Among other restrictions, the FSPTCA:4

  • Requires smokeless tobacco packages and advertisements to have larger and more visible labels that warn of health effects. Every package must include the following warning:
    • This product can cause mouth cancer.
    • This product can cause gum disease and tooth loss.
    • This product is not a safe alternative to cigarettes.
    • Smokeless tobacco is addictive.
  • Prohibits the sale of smokeless tobacco in vending machines, except in adult-only facilities.
  • Restricts tobacco marketing and sales to youth.
  • Prohibits tobacco companies from making reduced-harm claims like “light,” “low,” or “mild” without approval from FDA.
  • Requires tobacco companies to provide detailed information to FDA about the ingredients in their products.
  • References

    1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014 [accessed 2015 Jul 13].
    2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. State-Specific Prevalence of Current Cigarette Smoking and Smokeless Tobacco use Among Adults Aged ≥18 Years—United States 2011–2013. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2015;64(19):532–6 [accessed 2015 Jul 13].
    3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tobacco Use Among Middle and High School Students—United States, 2011–2014. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2015;64(14):381–5 [accessed 2015 Jul 13].
    4. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Tobacco Control Act. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 2015 [accessed 2015 Jul 13].

    For Further Information

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
    Office on Smoking and Health
    E-mail: tobaccoinfo@cdc.gov
    Phone: 1-800-CDC-INFO

    Media Inquiries: Contact CDC's Office on Smoking and Health press line at 770-488-5493.

 


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