This study was conducted in 2001 with the aim of providing data on black South African secondary school students' tobacco use status, knowledge, and attitudes. The sample included 330 Grade 10 and 382 Grade 12 secondary school pupils chosen at random from six rural secondary schools in one of the regions in the Northern Province of South Africa. Results show a prevalence of 9.1% current smokers among boys and 5% among girls, and 8.4% current snuff users among girls and 3.9% among boys. The mean age of onset to take snuff was 12.5 years and that for smoking cigarettes 14.8 years. Adolescents who reported that some family member or their peers used tobacco were more likely to be users of tobacco. Two-thirds of the current snuff users believed that using snuff was safer than smoking cigarettes. Knowledge was found to be related to attitude but not with tobacco use behavior. Awareness of the adverse effects of such tobacco habits was poor and intervention programs to curb tobacco use is required.