Getting Around No-Smoking Laws
While cigarettes remain the most common form of tobacco used, popularity of other tobacco products is on the rise, especially due to the fact that the tobacco industry promotes them as an alternative when smoking is not an option.
Smokeless Tobacco Products
Tobacco companies launched a new smokeless, spitless tobacco product called snus (pronounced "snoose") in 2006, with a marketing campaign that capitalizes on the fact that there are fewer places that allow smoking. That same year, the five largest tobacco manufacturers spent over $354 million on smokeless tobacco advertising and promotions, which flaunt its use in places with existing smoking restrictions.1
In 2009, tobacco companies began test marketing more smokeless tobacco options, including candy- and fruit-flavored dissolvable strips, mint-shaped "orbs” and sticks that may appeal to youth and be easily mistaken for candy. Studies show that these new products cause nicotine to be absorbed more rapidly into the body than in cigarettes. 2 They also allow youth to use them at home or school without others' knowledge it is a tobacco product.
Given the many varieties of smokeless tobacco products introduced in recent years and record marketing spending levels, it is no surprise that youth's use of smokeless tobacco has increased after a long period of decline. 2
Did you know that one cigar has as much nicotine as almost three packs of cigarettes? 3 While cigarette smoking has decreased, cigar smoking has increased in recent years. Between 2000 and 2006, cigarette consumption declined nationally by 13 percent, and cigar smoking increased by more than 37 percent. 4
The tobacco industry has attracted youth to cigars; in particular, by promoting "little cigars" that were often candy- or fruit-flavored to hide the unpleasant flavor of tobacco and increase the odds of addiction. They would sometimes place them within a child's reach near candy.
Hookahs are water pipes, used to smoke flavored tobacco, that use hot charcoal to heat the tobacco. The use of hookah pipes is not a safe alternative to cigarette smoking - hookah smoking can cause oral and lung cancers as well as heart disease. 5
Hookah tobacco contains the same chemicals found in all tobacco, including nicotine and cancer-causing chemicals. Many of those that use hookah think that the water "filters" the tobacco, thus making it safer to use. In reality, the water just cools it, making it easier to inhale the toxic smoke. In addition, secondhand hookah smoke also contains the same cancer-causing particulates found in cigarette smoke. 6
Hookah use is increasing as its flavored tobacco options, like apple, strawberry and cola, are popular with young adults. Additionally, hookah stores are increasing in number around colleges.
For more information on what you can do about hookah in your community, click here.
- Federal Trade Commission. Smokeless Tobacco Report for the Year 2006. Washington, DC: Federal Trade Commission; 2009.
- Connolly, G N., Richter, P., Aleguas, A. Jr., Pechacek, T F., Stanfill, S B., Alpert, H R. Unintentional Child Poisonings Through Ingestion of Conventional and Novel Tobacco Products. Pediatrics. 2010 May;125(5):896-9. Epub 2010 Apr 19.
- 1998 National Cancer Institute Monograph 9: Cigars: Health Effects and Trends.
- USDA Economic Research Service, Tobacco Briefing Room, Tables 1 and 3, April 2007
- Quote from Diana Bonta, Director of the CA Department of Health Services, July 21, 2003.
- World Health Organization Study Group on Tobacco Product Regulation (TobReg). Advisory Note: Waterpipe Tobacco Smoking: Health Effects, Research Needs and Recommended Actions by Regulators. 2005.