Through With Chew Week February 20 – 26, 2011Feb 22nd, 2011 | By Submitted | Category: Health
Tobacco Free Madison is encouraging our community partners to raise awareness of the dangers of smokeless tobacco, by participating in Through With Chew Week, February 20 – February 26. Through With Chew Week (TWCW) is an educational campaign to decrease spit tobacco use and increase awareness of the negative health effects of using these products.
All tobacco products contain nicotine, which is very addictive. The most harmful carcinogens in spit and chewing tobacco are called tobacco-specific nitrosamines. These are formed during the growing, curing, fermenting and aging of American tobacco.
If you look at the types of spit, chew and snuff sold in retail outlets, you will notice different products for the beginner; they are easily identified by their sweet, fruity flavors (apple, cherry, peach, etc.) and often come in easy-to-use pouches. Over time, the spit and snuff user graduates to products that contain more nicotine. Someone who has chewed for a long time uses a stronger product and uses it more frequently to receive the same effect.
Even though smokeless tobacco use can lead to nicotine addiction and dependence, many youth are unaware of the dangerous consequences. Many believe that “smokeless” means harmless, but in fact, it contains 28 cancer causing agents that could lead to oral cancer. Oral cancer is the sixth-leading cancer in males and one of the most difficult types of cancer to diagnose, treat and cure.
The Florida Youth Tobacco Survey indicates that Madison exceeds the state averages for youth smokeless tobacco use where 7.2 % of our middle school students report using smokeless tobacco in the past 30 days compared to the state average of three percent. Madison County High School students report that 12.3 percent of them used smokeless tobacco in the past 30 days, greater than the state rate of 6.4 %. Efforts are being made to prevent initiation of tobacco use and to help those who have already developed a habit to quit.
Recently, Tobacco Free Florida launched a new website dedicated to smokeless tobacco, www.SmokelessKills.com. It is designed to expose the dangers of smokeless tobacco with hard-hitting statistics and graphic images while leading users to free support that is available to help quitting.
Tobacco Free Madison and SWAT recognize that tobacco dependency is an addiction. They assist by referring tobacco users to the most evidenced-based help that is available, the combination of counseling supported by nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) like patches and gum.
Be FREE today and contact the Florida Quitline at 1-877-U-CAN-NOW or floridaquitline.com for free counseling and NRT (for those that meet the medical screening requirements). Individual and small group counseling is available at the Madison County Health Department Monday evenings at 5:30 pm.
Please contact Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) representative Preston Mathews to register at (850) 728 – 5479.