The prevalence of use of snus (low-nitrosamine smokeless tobacco, Swedish type) has reached epidemic proportions in parts of Northern Europe, and the trend is escalating. Knowledge of variables influencing use of snus is scarce, and this study set out to explore expectancies related to the use of snus as possible determinants of intentions to use snus in the next 6 months.
The data stem from a questionnaire survey among university students in 2004 and included 141 snus users (mean age = 20.9 years, SD = 2.1). Thirteen items derived from a study by Juliano & Brandon (2004) were adapted to the use of snus, and a confirmatory factor analysis was conducted. The predictive power of expectancies on snus intentions and behavioral experience on intentions were examined using structural equation modeling.
Five meaningful and interpretable expectancy factors were confirmed by the factor analysis: "negative affect," "weight control," "health risks," "quitting smoking facilitation," and "craving reduction." "Health risks" turned out to be the only expectancy factor that significantly predicted intentions to use snus. In addition, "current snus behavior" had a significant direct effect on intentions. Altogether, the model explained 27% of the variance in intentions.
The findings suggest that expectancies of snus use can be applied to understand intentions to use snus. However, the range of expectancy items should preferably be broadened in future studies, and more attention should be paid to the inclusion of groups that differs in nicotine experience.