But expert warns that it's not a safe alternative to cigarette smoking,,
THURSDAY, March 5 (HealthDay News) -- Smokeless tobacco use by adolescent boys in the United States increased from 3.4 to 4.4 percent from 2002 to 2007, according to a federal government report released Thursday.
At the same time, use of smokeless tobacco in the past month among all people older than 12 remained in the 3.0 to 3.3 percent range. About 7.8 million people 12 and older reported using smokeless tobacco in the past month in 2007, according to the report, Smokeless Tobacco Use, Initiation and Relationship to Cigarette Smoking: 2002 to 2007.
The report is based on data from approximately 405,000 people ages 12 and older who took part in nationwide surveys on drug use and health conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Smokeless tobacco products include tobacco or tobacco blends that are chewed, placed in the mouth outside the gums, or inhaled or snorted through the nose.
The report also found:
"These findings and the medical literature indicate that using smokeless tobacco is not a safe alternative to cigarette smoking," Eric Broderick, the agency's acting administrator, said in a government news release. "We need to make everyone aware that all forms of tobacco use can cause nicotine addiction, cancer and death."
The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about smokeless tobacco.
-- Robert Preidt
SOURCE: U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, news release, March 5, 2009
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