Smokeless tobacco products, supply chain and retailers' practices in England: a multimethods study to inform policy

Faraz Siddiqui*, Talib Khan, Anne Readshaw, Ray Croucher, Martin Dockrell, Cath Jackson, Mona Kanaan, Jim Mccambridge, Ann Mcneill, Steve Parrott, Aziz Sheikh, Kamran Siddiqi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: In England, many people of South Asian origin consume smokeless tobacco (ST). ST use can lead to oral cancer, which is disproportionately high in South Asians. Our aims were to assess the compliance of ST product retailers with statutory regulations and to explore the supply chain of ST. Methods: We undertook a multimethods study between August 2017 and July 2019 in five English boroughs with a high proportion of ethnic South Asians. We purchased ST products and conducted field surveys with ST retailers at point of sale. Qualitative interviews were conducted with ST retailers and suppliers. ST packs were assessed for regulatory compliance, while quantitative and qualitative data triangulated information on retailers' practices and the ST supply chain. Results: We collected 41 unique ST products, which included dry snuff, naswar, gutka, chewing tobacco and zarda. ST products were not registered, and demonstrated low compliance with health warning (14.6%) and packaging (56.1%) requirements. ST availability in surveyed boroughs was high (38.2%-69.7%); dry snuff, naswar and zarda were most commonly available. ST retailers demonstrated limited knowledge of regulations, and one-third were found to advertise ST at point of sale. Qualitative insights revealed illicit supply and distribution networks, as well as ST production in discreet locations. Conclusion: ST products are widely available in England, yet non-compliant with statutory regulations. In order to safeguard consumers, in particular ethnic South Asians, stronger efforts are needed to regulate the supply chain of ST at both national and international levels.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere45-e49
Number of pages5
JournalTobacco Control
Early online date7 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2021

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  • advertising and promotion
  • disparities
  • non-cigarette tobacco products
  • surveillance and monitoring

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