Bringing Media Up to Snuff

Media briefing on moist snuff research

The Michigan Public Health Institute, Okemos, Mich., organized a media briefing at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on April 26, 1995 to enhance dissemination of research findings published in the Spring 1995 issue of Tobacco Control related to nicotine manipulation in moist snuff products.

Tobacco Control is an international peer-reviewed scientific journal published quarterly by the British Medical Association.

Key Results

  • Hosted by the American Medical Association, which assisted in its planning and coordination, the briefing highlighted four papers on moist snuff that deal with the "graduation strategy," i.e., longer-term users seeking brands with higher pH and un-ionized nicotine levels, which may be exploited by manufacturers of moist snuff to create and sustain nicotine addiction among youth.
    • Two papers showed the wide variation in pH and levels of un-ionized nicotine in brands of moist snuff, and how different brands with different levels are sought out by novice and veteran users.
    • A third paper reviewed survey data on smokeless tobacco use among those aged 12–21 years, and noted the same "graduation strategy" among this population that was discussed in the other two papers.
    • The final paper reviewed information on marketing activities entered into evidence in an Oklahoma court case, Marsee vs US Tobacco Company, as well as trade literature, advertising, and promotional material that would appear to support the contention that marketing activities incorporate this "graduation strategy."
  • The media briefing received extensive radio and television coverage on April 26 and 27, 1995, including spots on all three network evening news programs and CNN and CNBC, coverage in 144 local television news programs on 69 stations, stories on national and local radio programs, and stories in each of the leading news services, which in turn, resulted in corollary stories in over 25 newspapers across the country.

Funding

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) provided partial support for the briefing with a grant of $22,563 between April and July 1995.