A new study tracking the popularity of smokeless tobacco
products among U.S. adolescents found the majority of teens who use these
products also smoke cigarettes, countering the idea that novel smokeless
tobacco products can help reduce the health problems associated with tobacco
use. The study “Use of Conventional and Novel Smokeless Tobacco Products AmongU.S. Adolescents,” published in the September 2013 Pediatrics (published online
Aug. 5), found 5.6 percent of students in grades 6 through 12 use a form of
smokeless tobacco. Among all students, 5 percent used chewing tobacco, snuff or
dip; 1.9 percent used snus, and 0.3 percent used dissolvable tobacco products.
Most teens who used smokeless tobacco products used conventional smokeless
tobacco products such as snuff, chewing or dipping tobacco products (64
percent), compared to 9 percent who used only novel products like snus or
dissolvable tobacco products, and 26 percent who used both. About 72 percent of
students who used smokeless tobacco products smoked cigarettes at the same
time. Only 40 percent expressed an intent to quit all tobacco use. Students who
used smokeless tobacco products were more likely to perceive tobacco as less
harmful. The study authors conclude that the findings point to a need to
stronger health warnings on smokeless tobacco products and other interventions
to prevent adolescent use of all tobacco products.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary
care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical
specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children,
adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.