Future Trends of Tobacco Product use and Implications for Regulation

By Gustavo Torrez

Program Manager, Reporting from the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act: Regulatory Science and the Tobacco Industry at Harvard School of Public Health


Terry Pechacek, PhD

Associate Director for Science, Office on Smoking & Health

National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention & Health Promotion

Dr. Pechacek outlined three main concerns for the future;

  • Use of other tobacco products besides cigarettes,
  • Patters of using two or more tobacco products, and
  • Dual use of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products specifically

He outlines a trend we are all very familiar with, new smokeless products. In most communities we have seen that new smokeless products have a broad appeal across all communities, and this is a huge concern Dr. Pechacek notes.

Within the LGBT Communities specifically, RJR has been pushing their Camel SNUS product through direct advertising in most of the LGBT publication across the country as you may already know. Additionally, data from a 2009 SAMHSA report shows that there is a dramatic increase of smokeless products within the youth and young adult populations. With that being said Dr. Pachacek outlines specific points we need to keep an eye on.

  • Prolonging smoking substantially increases risk,
  • Duration is a stronger determinant of risk than intensity,
  • Use of smokeless in addition to cigarettes adds further layer of risk, and
  • Combined effects are unknown, which he states is, worrisome

These are all causes for concern as duel use may also facilitate a pattern of “Light” and/or “social smoking” within the young adult community.  In addition, people may not perceive themselves to be a smoker. Which we know naturally leads into another area of concern as these pattern poses particular challenges to cessation efforts.

Furthermore, Dr. Pacheceo outlines the implications below as we begin to see these new trends take hold of our communities.

  • The emerging trends in smoking and dual use threaten to reverse progress toward reducing tobacco use and its health burden.
  • We need to keep a closer eye on these trends and monitor their population impact
  • We need to monitor use of all tobacco products not just cigarettes
  • We need to monitor use of combination of tobacco products, rather than monitoring use of each product in isolation.
Dr. Pechacek made some great points in his short 15 minute presentation on wednesday. For those of you who know Dr. Pechacek you know that he is a wealth of knowledge and giving someone like him 15 minutes to present is a challenge. He spoke fast and packed in a lot of content but hope these are some relevant points for you all.

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