To Smoke or To Dip?

Tobacco addiction may be equal for smokers or users of smokeless tobacco

(RxWiki News) Which is more addictive - smoking tobacco or smokeless tobacco? Tobacco may be able to hook users one way or the other.

A recent study tested tobacco addiction symptoms of smokers and dippers. Results from this study found no difference between the addiction potential of smoking versus dipping.

"All forms of tobacco are addictive - stop smoking."

Joseph R DiFranza, MD, from the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, led an investigation into the use of smokeless tobacco in high school kids.

For the study, 1,541 Florida high school students filled out two surveys on their use of tobacco products in 2012.

The surveys used were the Hooked on Nicotine Checklist (HONC) and the Autonomy Over Smoking Scale (AUTOS).

Of smokers with less than 100 lifetime tobacco servings, 56 percent of dippers, and 57 percent of smokers reported one or more symptoms on the HONC.

A total of 91 percent of both smokers and dippers with 100 or more lifetime tobacco servings reported one or more symptoms on the HONC.

Authors concluded, “Using these measures (HONC and AUTOS) and other indicators, no meaningful differences in dependence were found between dippers and smokers at comparable levels of lifetime use.”

Dr. DiFranza said, “The bottom line is that chewing tobacco is exactly as addictive as cigarettes. This challenges the notion that the addictiveness of nicotine is related to the speed of delivery.”

Further research is necessary to confirm results on a more diverse group of tobacco users.

This study was published in September in Tobacco Control. No financial information was given and no conflicts of interest were reported.

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Review Date: 
September 10, 2012