USA Today reports that the big cigarette companies are introducing smokeless tobacco products in response to the proliferation of smoking restrictions around the country. One new product, similar to some already developed by smokeless tobacco companies, is a tobacco pouch users tuck under their cheek -- just like traditional smokeless tobacco -- that does not require chewing or spitting. Public health experts are split on the development. While smokeless tobacco is clearly less risky than smoking -- that is, the mortality and morbidity rates from equivalent rates of use is quite less -- some fear that these new products will entice non-smokers.
Smokeless tobacco poses fewer health risks, but smokers are unlikely to give up cigarettes entirely for it, says Greg Connolly, director of Harvard University's Tobacco Control Research Program. "It's like trading in your Mercedes for a tricycle." He says the new products will more likely attract non-smokers, those who might otherwise quit and smokers in a smoke-free place. "This is an effort to keep people using tobacco," says Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
Whatever else the impact of these products, as a non-user, I'd still be thrilled if they eliminate spit cups!