The Tobacco Free Partnership of Citrus County Raises Awareness About Smokeless Tobacco During Through With Chew Week
Lecanto, Fla. – Tobacco products like chew, dip and snuff are not harmless. But because they’re smokeless, youth and adults may underestimate the serious health risks associated with these products. In fact, while cigarette usecontinues to decline, smokeless tobacco use has remained steady among Citrus County’s youth for more than a decade.
To help raise awareness about the dangers of smokeless tobacco, the Tobacco Free Partnership of Citrus County and the Florida Department of Health’s Bureau of Tobacco Free Florida will observe Through With Chew Week from Feb.16-22.
“A lot of people believe smokeless tobacco is a safe alternative to smoking cigarettes,” said Elizabeth Wood, the Citrus County Tobacco Prevention Specialist. “When actually the constant exposure to juices in these products can cause oral cancer within just five years of regular use.”
Health RisksAside from the increased risk of cancer, using smokeless tobacco can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. It can lead to other oral problems such as mouth sores, gum recession, tooth decay, and permanent discoloration of teeth.
Smokeless tobacco use can also increase the risk of reproductive health problems such as reduced sperm count and abnormal sperm cells for men. Women who use smokeless tobacco may be at an increased risk of preeclampsia (a condition that may include high blood pressure, fluid retention, and swelling), premature birth, and low birth weight.
AddictionLike cigarettes, smokeless tobacco products contain nicotine, a highly addictive and dangerous chemical. Smokeless tobacco users and cigarette smokers have comparable levels of nicotine in the blood, according to the National Cancer Institute.
“Smokeless tobacco is not a safe alternative to smoking and the rate at which youth continue to use these products is alarming,” said State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John Armstrong. “Many of these young people may be substituting cigarettes with smokeless tobacco in places where they can’t smoke, leading to a stronger nicotine addiction that makes it harder for them to quit.”
Tobacco Free Florida has three ways to help smokeless tobacco users quit. Those who want to quit can double their chances at success by using one of these free and convenient quit services. For more information, visit www.tobaccofreeflorida.com.
For more information on smokeless tobacco, visit www.tobaccofreeflorida.com/smokelesstobacco.
Source: Citrus County Health Department