As use of snuff and chewing tobacco has spread, so have regulation and research efforts.
The House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on health and the environment already has passed a bill requiring warning labels on all smokeless tobacco products and print advertising. The bill also would ban all TV and radio advertising of smokeless tobacco products. It now goes before the full committee.
A similar bill to require warning labels has been introduced in the Senate, but no action has been taken on it.
Both New York and Oklahoma recently passed a law banning sales to minors.
An 11-member surgeon general's panel will review all the research and look at cancer, addiction and noncancer health problems. The report is to go to the surgeon general sometime next spring.
The surgeon general will relay those findings to the Federal Trade Commission, which can require warning labels or regulate advertising.
Meetings will be closed, says Dr. Joseph Cullen, chairman of the study panel, to prevent disruptions. "We have already been told by the U.S. Tobacco people that everything we're doing is a sham," he says.
Among the research the panel will look at will be some funded by Smokeless Tobacco Council grants. "I'm sure it is well done if they're given the money to good scientists," he says.