Each year, Through With Chew Week raises awareness about the dangers of smokeless tobacco use (chew, dip, and snus) and the effective tools available to quit tobacco. This Through With Chew Week, Feb. 20-26, Tobacco Free Florida is encouraging smokeless tobacco users to set a quit date and use Tobacco Free Florida’s free and proven-effective resources to quit for good.
Smokeless tobacco contains nicotine, the same addictive and toxic chemical found in other tobacco products. Many chemicals in smokeless tobacco are known to cause several cancers including oral, esophageal and pancreatic cancers. Other common harmful effects include tumors affecting the nasal cavity, lungs, trachea, pancreas, liver and throat. Smokeless tobacco also contains a radioactive element called polonium-210 and harmful metals including arsenic and lead. The American Heart Association reports smokeless tobacco use can also increase the risk of stroke and heart disease.
Smokeless tobacco usage rates across Florida are fairly low, but this is inconsistent in different areas throughout the state. Some rural counties in Florida report smokeless tobacco rates more than five times higher than the statewide average.
“Smokeless tobacco creates significant health hazards to its users and is not a safe alternative to smoking. Smokeless tobacco companies use colorful packaging, heavy price discounts and other clever marketing tricks to try to ensure smokeless tobacco continues its hold on our community,” stated Andrea May, Director of Community Health Promotions for the Florida Department of Health in Hendry and Glades Counties. “We want people in our community to know Tobacco Free Florida has tools and services available to help anyone ready to quit tobacco, including chew.”
Those looking to quit tobacco can create a personalized quit plan using Tobacco Free Florida’s free Quit Your Way tools and services. The Quit Your Way program offers free tools and services like Phone Quit, Group Quit and Web Quit, in addition to individual tools like text support, a Quit Guide and helpful emails. Free nicotine replacement therapy – nicotine patches, gum, or lozenges – are available to tobacco users who are 18 or older, if medically appropriate.
For more information on quitting tobacco, you can call 1-877-U-CAN-NOW (1-877-822-6669) or visit TobaccoFreeFlorida.com/quityourway.