U.S. - teen smoking continues gradual decline, smokeless tobacco use up slightly..

December 16, 2009 - New data announced on Monday, December 14th from the Monitoring the Future study shows that while teen smoking rates are continuing their slow decline, an old threat has once again emerged - the use of smokeless tobacco. The study found that among 8th, 10th and 12th graders - all groups surveyed each year by the study - teen smoking rates among 8th and 12th graders continued to trend downward, while daily smoking amongst 10th graders crept upwards (5.9% in 2008 to 6.3% in 2009). Perhaps more concerning is the slight increase in daily smokeless tobacco use amongst 10th graders (now up to 1.9% in 2009 from 1.4 in 2008) and 12th graders (now 2.9 in 2009 up from 2.7 in 2008). Public health experts had predicted this increase in response to the tobacco industry's wide-ranging and aggressively marketed smokeless products now widely available.

The perceived risk of using smokeless tobacco products has decreased in all grades as has disapproval of smokeless products amongst 8th and 10th graders - a troubling trend indicating teens are not aware of the harm smokeless products can cause and that they are a viable alternative to cigarette smoking.

The report, now in its 35th year, is the most respected source for data about youth smoking.

References: Smoking continues gradual decline among U.S. teens, smokeless tobacco threatens a comeback, Monitoring the Future - Institute of Social Research, University News Service, 12/14/2009; Teen smoking continues to decline, but mild increase in smokeless tobacco, SOURCE Legacy, The Medical News, 12/15/2009.