According to the results of a research accomplished by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration the rates of minor boys who use chewing tobacco have increased from 3.5 to 4.5 percent within 5 years, making it a 30 percent rise. Scientists have underlined that teenagers who preferred using smokeless tobacco have been living mainly in rural areas.
As regards the use of chewing tobacco among adult population, the numbers have remained relatively stable, increasing by only 0.3 percent from 3.0 to 3.3 percents.
The survey regarding smokeless tobacco use found out that almost 8 million people aged 12 and older admitted chewing smokeless tobacco during last year.
During the nationwide survey around one million minors were proposed to answer several questions related to using tobacco for chewing, inhaling, snorting and mixing with gums. According to the survey results almost 400,000 teenagers said trying or using chewing tobacco regularly.
Other results of smokeless tobacco use survey indicated that:
- The overwhelming majority of actual users of chewing tobacco (86%) admitted to smoke cigarettes at least 10 times and 40 percents of surveyed minors lighted up within last couple of months.
- Many regular smokers switched to using chewing tobacco thinking that it would help them give up smoking, however the majority of them (almost 90%) were still puffing on their cigarettes after almost a year of chewing smokeless tobacco.
- Amidst people who had tried both cigarettes and chewing tobacco at least once during their lives, 66 percent began smoking before using smokeless tobacco; 32 percent of surveyed tried chewing tobacco first and 2 percent admitted to begin smoking and chewing simultaneously.
- Men are almost 20 times more likely to use smokeless tobacco for chewing than women.
Prof. Jonas Smirnoff, one of the survey leaders commented the results of survey saying that users of smokeless tobacco have not been aware that chewing tobacco was a not a healthier substitute for cigarettes, as smokeless tobacco has been linked with oral cancer risk for a long time. Scientist also added that smokeless tobacco could contribute to becoming nicotine addicted as well as in case with smoking usual cigarettes.
Jennifer McNally, assistant to president of the campaign for tobacco-free kids advocacy group stated that the trend of using chewing smokeless tobacco among minors has been raising more and more concerns among scientists and physicians.
She blamed tobacco industry for luring adolescents to start chewing tobacco in order to become more popular among their friends.
Mrs. McNally indicated that the recent increase in the rates of teenage tobacco chewers is closely related to the increase in the tobacco companies’ investments in advertising their products and attracting minor audience by indirect propaganda of smokeless tobacco.
The recent surveys raised many demands to give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration the power to ban the use of smokeless tobacco among minors as well as to regulate tobacco products.