The Lassen County Public Health Tobacco Use Reduction Program, as well as local physicians and dentists concerned with community health, want you to be tobacco free. In an effort to call attention to the use of smokeless tobacco, the week of February 14th – 20th, has been designated by public health agencies across the country as ‘Through with Chew Week.’
In 2014, according to information released by the Tobacco Use Reduction program, more than 5 of every 100 high school students (5.5%) in the United States used smokeless tobacco. Each year in February the CDC and state health agencies promote ‘Lose the Chew’ to make the public aware of the dangers of smokeless tobacco.
Teens are especially drawn to chew tobacco because it displays a cool image and is more easily hidden from adults. Smokeless tobacco is not a safe alternative to cigarettes, as some young people believe, and it is even more habit forming than cigarettes because it contains a higher concentration of nicotine. Switching from smoking to chew tobacco is not quitting tobacco.
• Smokeless tobacco has 28 cancer causing agents
• Smokeless tobacco can cause oral cancer, especially in the cheeks, gums and throat. Chew tobacco users have an 80% higher risk or oral cancer and a 60% higher risk of pancreatic and esophageal cancer
• The use of smokeless tobacco can also lead to other oral health problems especially bad breath and discoloration of teeth. Mouth sores, gum recession and tooth decay readily follow the nasty breath and dirty teeth.
“Be informed and take charge of your health,” the folks at the Tobacco Use Reduction Program explain. “Talk to your teens about tobacco use and the dangers involved. We encourage the public to get the facts about chew tobacco.”
For more information or for educational materials, please call the local Tobacco Use Reduction Program, 257-9600 or The California Tobacco Chewers’ Hotline, 1-800-844-CHEW. For online information visit the California Smokers’ Helpline website at http://www.nobutts.org/chew and download their patient fact sheet.