U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company

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U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company (USSTC) describes itself as “the leading producer and marketer of moist Smokeless Tobacco” in the United States (US). According to market research company Euromonitor International, in 2019 it held just under 50% of the moist snuff market in the US.1


In 2009, U.S Smokeless Tobacco Company was acquired by Altria.2 Prior to 2001 USTC was known as U.S. Tobacco Company (UST).

The company owns the following moist smokeless tobacco brands: Copenhagen (main brand), Skoal, Red Seal and Husky.2


In 2020, its senior management team was listed as:3

  • Shannon Liestra, President and Chief Executive Officer
  • Greg Shiflett, Vice President Manufacturing

Brian W. Quigley, CEO of USSTC from 2012 to 2018, spent a total of 16 years working at Altria. In 2020, he joined Respira Technologies as Chief Operating Officer.4 According to Tobacco Reporter, Respira’s products “have applications in nicotine-replacement therapies [NRT], reduced-harm tobacco products and pharmaceutical drug delivery”.5

Kevin Freudenthal worked at the company in a range of marketing and sales roles until 2009.

Marketed Smokeless Tobacco to Young People In Europe

Leaked industry documents revealed that the company, UST at that time,  had discussions with British American Tobacco (BAT) in the 1970s and 1980s in relation to developing the smokeless tobacco market in Western Europe.678 Ultimately, BAT did not pursue joint ventures with UST.6

Despite BAT’s withdrawal, in the 1980s UST aggressively marketed its Skoal Bandits product to young people in Europe; commissioned research claiming that the product did not cause cancer; and lobbied hard for its interests.6 Despite this activity, the UK parliament introduced a ban on some oral tobacco. The ban was subsequently reversed and lead to a political “cash for questions” scandal involving British Members of Parliament, including Neil Hamilton.6 Ultimately UST’s well-funded lobbying was ineffective and a ban on oral tobacco and snus was passed in the UK and across Europe (excepting Sweden) in 1992 – for more information see our pages on the EU ban on snus and cigarette companies investing in snus.

See also TCRG research paper: Transnational Tobacco Company Interests in Smokeless Tobacco in Europe: Analysis of Internal Industry Documents and Contemporary Industry Materials

Relevant Link

U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company’s website

TobaccoTactics Resources

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  1. Euromonitor International, World Tobacco data, accessed July 2020 (paywall)
  2. abU.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company About U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company, website, undated, accessed July 2020
  3. U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company website, Our Leadership, website, undated, accessed July 2020
  4. Respira Technologies, Respira Technologies, Inc. announces Brian W. Quigley, former CEO of Altria Group’s Smokeless Division, to join as Chief Operating Officer, PR Newswire, 30 June 2020, accessed July 2020
  5. Altria Veteran Brian Quigley joins Respira, Tobacco Reporter, 1 July 2020, accessed July 2020
  6. abcdS. Peeters, A.B. Gilmore, Transnational Tobacco Company Interests in Smokeless Tobacco in Europe: Analysis of Internal Industry Documents and Contemporary Industry Materials, PLOS Medicine, 2013;10(9):e1001506, doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001506
  7. W.W. Watson, Letter from Walter W Watson to AJI Jennings regarding samples of smokeless tobacco. British American Tobacco, Truth Tobacco Industry Documents, Bates number 100658182, 21 December 1971, accessed July 2020
  8. British American Tobacco, Smokeless Tobacco, Truth Tobacco Industry Documents, Bates number 301552282-301552292, 21 September 1981, accessed July 2020