United States - using smokeless tobacco does not help smokers quit..

January 27, 2009 - Earlier research in Sweden has suggested otherwise. But, according to a study just released by the University of California, San Diego and Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet, there are important differences between the United States and Sweden about how people use—and quit—tobacco.

PAPER: Quitting Cigarettes Completely or Switching to Smokeless: Do U.S. Data Replicate the Swedish Results?, Shu-Hong Zhu1, Julie B Wang, Anne Hartman, Yuerong Zhuang, Anthony Gamst, James T Gibson, Hans Gilljam, Maria Rosaria Galanti, Tobacco Control Online, 1/23/2009, ABSTRACT.

In Sweden, many smokers quit smoking by switching to smokeless tobacco. But researchers didn’t find a similar effect among U.S. smokers. This is important because there has been a vigorous debate in the international public health community about whether tobacco control programs should stop advocating complete tobacco cessation and start promoting smokeless tobacco as a less-harmful alternative to smoking.

Over a one-year period, the study tracked quit rates, and the rates of switching from one form of tobacco to another, of more than 15,000 adult participants. It showed that:

• Among U.S. men, less than 1 percent of current smokers switched to smokeless tobacco during the 12 month study.
• Only 1.7 percent of former smokers turned to smokeless tobacco.
• Men’s quit rate for smokeless tobacco was three times higher than for cigarettes.

The Swedish data showed just the opposite: Swede smokers are more likely to switch to smokeless tobacco. Smokeless tobacco users in Sweden are less likely to quit.

It looks like the Swedish experience with smokeless tobacco and quitting smoking is unique to Sweden.

Murray Kessler ,former CEO of UST, Inc. (now Vice Chair, Altria Group, Inc.) Nine Out of Ten U.S. Smokers Who Try Smokeless Still Reject the Product..

Reference: Does Smokeless Tobacco Help Smokers Quit Cigarettes?, UC Sam Diego Medical Center, 1/26/2009.

Related news brief: Further evidence SNUS is NOT a component of smoking cessation..