The market for smokeless tobacco keeps on growing
Smokeless tobacco is about a $6 billion industry, says Bloomberg Industries analyst Kenneth Shea.
“Growing sales [are] at about a 6 percent annual rate, which is pretty good, particularly compared to cigarettes which grow at about 1 percent a year,” he says.
Shea says cigarette sales still command 85 percent of total tobacco sales, but products like chew and snuff are growing. Part of the draw, says Shea is that it’s getting harder and harder to find a place where you can smoke.
Harvard Public Health Professor Gregory Connolly says R.J. Reynolds and Altria parent company of Phillip Morris – have also done a great job luring consumers in.
“You can get twice the amount of nicotine out of a tin of Copenhagen than you do out of a pack of Marlboros,” he says.
Connolly says part of the problem is that regulations aren’t as tight for smokeless tobacco as they are for cigarettes.
“We banned all candy-like flavors, so you can’t get cherry cigarettes,” he says. “But [we] totally exempted smokeless tobacco. So you can buy lemon smokeless tobacco, minty smokeless tobacco, you name it.”