Big Tobacco takes a different form in our most open spaces: pouches and cans of chew and snuff, woven into the fabric of rural Oregon over decades of aggressive marketing. Tobacco companies pitch smokeless tobacco as a safe alternative, but it is not. The amount of nicotine absorbed from smokeless tobacco can be 3 to 4 times greater than that delivered by a cigarette. While nicotine is absorbed more slowly from smokeless tobacco, more nicotine per dose is absorbed and stays in the bloodstream longer.35
Big Tobacco’s presence is felt broadly in small-town Oregon, where it happily steps up to play partner for civic gatherings and popular sports events. Nicotine, wall-to-wall advertising and tradition combine for a potent blend, especially in rural Oregon, where one in four young men (age 18-24)36 uses smokeless tobacco.
More Oregon 11th graders than adults use smokeless tobacco.
But Smokeless Tobacco
isn’t limited to rural areas.As cities push cigarettes out of their parks and other public spaces, Big Tobacco is pushing back with new smokeless products. Portland has been a test market for products such as “snus” (a moist snuff product that comes in small, teabag-like pouches), as well as “orbs” and dissolvable sticks and strips. Young people, especially, love the sweet-flavored, candy-like varieties. In all, nearly 124,000 Oregonians used smokeless tobacco in 2012.37
I’m not addicted to tobacco because I only use smokeless products.