Smokeless tobacco use by teens is nothing new. They experiment all the time with tobacco. Unfortunately that experimentation normally leads to addictive habits. It happened to me with smoking.
Some teen boys would rather use smokeless tobacco as opposed to smoking because of various reasons. It’s easier to conceal, they don’t have worry about the effects of smoking on their athletics and they don’t like to stink of cigarettes. I can only imagine how much I used to stink up the school buses and classrooms when I was in high school. Aside from the fact that I’m an ugly dude, the girls probably didn’t like the way I smelled of Marlboro reds.
Smokeless tobacco may be a “safer” alternative than smoking, but it’s still not really safe at all. Smokeless tobacco can cause various oral cancers as well as stomach cancer. According to a report by the federal government smokeless tobacco use among teenage boys has increased 1% (from 3.4% to 4.4%) from 2002 to 2007. The study was based off of data from 405,000 people over the age of 12 that took part in the survey. You may think 1% isn’t much, but that’s an increase of 4050 people from 13770 people to 17820 people.
Now this study is totally subject to scrutiny because you can’t exactly draw 100% accurate date from only 405,000 people, but I would be willing to say that it’s probably close.
Teens are ultimately going to do what they want when their parents aren’t around and when they’re subject to peer pressure. The best you can do is talk to them, voice your concerns, punish them when they disobey and hope they are listening and understand your concern and love.
On another note, there was a recent study that showed that kids that came from non-smoking households also were less apt to smoke later on. Same thing pretty much goes for alcohol consumption as well.
The funny thing about the original source where I read this from on MSN Health, was that they show a can of Mint snuff. Not mint flavored snuff, but snuff made purely of mint leaves, a tobacco-less product.