The researches from the University of South Carolina commence a study with an objective of finding answers to two questions related to potential public health consequences of usage of smokeless tobacco.
Are smoke-free tobacco, for example, Camel Snus, help an adult smoker stop smoking – especially one who has no intention to quit?
Attempting to answer these questions is Matthew Carpenter, an associate professor from the University of South Carolina Department of Medicine. The research, which will be performed by Carpenter and his team, is funded mostly by the National Institutes of Health.
The nationwide study will comprise 1,250 adult smokers, half of them will be receiving Camel Snus or other smoke-free product, while the other half will not be given anything.
The scientists are willing to know if consumption of Snus results in reduction or quitting smoking. They also seek to estimate the quantity and patterns of consumption of Snus.
“The research will give strong and reliable evidence to initiate clinical and regulatory decision-making in the given controversial part of tobacco control,” the scientist admitted.
Matthew Myers, chairman of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids stated studies of smoke-free tobacco products should estimate what health damage results from the usage of the product as well as the strategies used to market that product.
“In case a smoke-free tobacco product diminishes the risk of health complication, but leads to more people consuming tobacco, it might lead to more deaths, not fewer,” declared Myers.
Carpenter admitted they are not attempting to encourage consumption of smokeless tobacco products in their research.
“We’re simply willing to imitate the real-world actions of an adult cigarette smoker being exposed to smokeless products in certain environment, such as a convenience store, “Carpenter noted.
“If smokers decide to try such products, what could be the effect? We think regardless of the determination of the research, it would possess a public-health effect.”
The present research is based on a similar study Carpenter research team performed last year on Ariva and Stonewell smoke-free products manufactured by Star Scientific Inc.
The main conclusion of the latter research was smoking diminished by 40 percent after the 14-day examination period, however overall usage of tobacco remained unchanged.
“That means Ariva and Stonewall might be effective in reducing nicotine withdrawal and craving,” the scientist admitted in his summary. “We did not find any changes in overall nicotine craving or withdrawal, as surveyed smokers exchanged cigarettes for Ariva/Stonewall lozenges.
“We discovered no evidence that smoke-free products (Ariva and Stonewall) prevent smoking cessation. On the contrary, willingness to stop – during the 60 days and next six months – considerably grew among adult smokers who consumed smoke-free tobacco products in comparison to those who smoked cigarettes.”
Leading tobacco companies, headed by Reynolds American are focusing on smokeless tobacco products to obtain market share and increase sales since cigarette smoking rates across the country are falling. According to government data, approximately 42 million adult Americans are smokers, versus 53.5 million reported in 1983.