Online Tobacco Class Could Keep Your Teen From Using Smokeless Tobacco

by: Mike Miller

While marijuana and prescription drug use are rampant among America’s teenagers there is at least one good sign – tobacco cigarette smoking is down. But is there a caveat to that too?

While tobacco use from smoking is down, smokeless tobacco use is increasing at alarming rates. It comes in a circular can in a variety of flavors — wintergreen, mint, cherry, cinnamon. Users pack it against their gums and often spit it into a soda bottle. As reported in

Youth seem to have a relatively easier time accessing the product, too, even though the legal purchase age for any tobacco is 18. A recent survey of convenience store purchases showed that 16.9 percent of underage teenagers walked out with newly purchased dip in their hands. The age group most commonly sold to? 15-year-olds.

Many high school students note watching classmates dip during class, without teachers even noticing.

The time has come for schools to pay closer attention to dip use.

It is estimated that 75 percent of smokeless tobacco users start as young as 14 years old. He says it's important that smokeless tobacco education start as early as middle school.

A recent survey of adolescents revealed that they have been well-schooled in the dangers of smoking cigarettes, but are not clued in to the dangers of chewing tobacco and dip.

The answer is more tobacco awareness classes. Our youth need to be educated on the dangers of all tobacco use. Mouth cancer, caused by dip, is more deadly than lung cancer. I suggest all schools mandate annual tobacco awareness classes beginning in sixth grade.