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Levels of Smokeless Tobacco Use Increase among Adolescent MalesFindings indicate that most smokeless tobacco users are former or current cigarette smokers
The levels of current smokeless tobacco use increased significantly among adolescent males (aged 12 to 17) from 3.4 percent in 2002 to 4.4 percent in 2007, according to a report based on a series of nationwide surveys. This report shows that the rate of current use of smokeless tobacco (i.e., use within the past month) among the whole population aged 12 and older has remained relatively stable during the same period (in the range of 3.0 to 3.3 percent).
Smokeless Tobacco Use, Initiation and Relationship to Cigarette Smoking: 2002 to 2007 highlights the use of smokeless tobacco among persons aged 12 and older. Overall, 7.8 million people aged 12 years or older reported using smokeless tobacco in the past month in 2007.
Among the study’s most notable findings:
Some smokers may think of switching to smokeless tobacco as a way to quit smoking, but this report indicates that among daily smokers who initiated smokeless tobacco use, 88.1 percent were still smoking daily 6 months later.
“These findings and the medical literature indicate that using smokeless tobacco is not a safe alternative to cigarette smoking,” said SAMHSA Acting Administrator Eric Broderick, D.D.S., M.P.H. “We need to make everyone aware that all forms of tobacco use can cause nicotine addiction, cancer and death.”
Smokeless tobacco products consist of tobacco or a tobacco blend that is chewed, placed in the oral cavity outside the gums, or inhaled or snorted through the nose rather than smoked. The use of smokeless tobacco has been associated with a wide range of health risks including various cancers, a number of non-cancerous oral conditions, as well as nicotine addiction and dependence.
The report is drawn from SAMHSA’s 2002 through 2007 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) which collected data from a total sample of approximately 405,000 persons representative of the United States civilian, non-institutionalized population aged 12 or older.
The full report is available on the Web at
SAMHSA is a public health agency within the Department of Health and Human Services. The agency is responsible for improving the accountability, capacity and effectiveness of the nation's substance abuse prevention, addictions treatment, and mental health services delivery system.
Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration • 1 Choke Cherry Road • Rockville, MD 20857