published: Tuesday, February 12, 2013
When it comes to tobacco, smokeless does not mean harmless
Special to the News-Sun
TALLAHASSEE -- 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 use continues to decline, smokeless tobacco use has remained steady among Highlands County's youth for more than a decade.
To help raise awareness about the dangers of smokeless tobacco, The Tobacco Free Partnership of Highlands County, Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT), and the Florida Department of Health's Bureau of Tobacco Free Florida will observe "Through With Chew Week" from Feb.17-23.
In Highlands County, high school SWAT students will be participating in the annual Highlands County Fair where they will set up a booth with educational materials on smokeless and candy flavored tobacco products. The students will have interactive games and activities that will educate the public on the dangers of smokeless and candy flavored tobacco and advertising tactics of big tobacco companies that makes these products appealing to our youth and young adults.
"There has been a big push in recent years to market spit tobacco with kid-friendly flavors and packaging," said Dr. Barry Hummel, a pediatrician that works with the local Tobacco Free Partnership. "Many children believe that these products are as safe as fruit or candy. Nothing could be further from the truth."
Constant exposure to tobacco juices from these smokeless products can cause oral cancers, which can form within just five years of regular use, and can cause cancer of the esophagus, pharynx, larynx, stomach and pancreas. Smokeless tobacco use can increase the risk of oral cancers by 80 percent and the risk of pancreatic and esophageal cancer by 60 percent, according to a 2008 study from the World Health Organization (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer.
Aside 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.
Like 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.
Through With Chew Week was established by the American Academy of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery as an educational campaign designed to prevent and reduce the use of smokeless tobacco. The week includes the Great American Spit Out on Thursday, Feb. 21, which encourages smokeless tobacco users to plan in advance to quit using smokeless tobacco that day, or to use the day to make a plan to quit.
smokeless (by: TheInvisibleHand - 2/13/2013)
Smokeless tobacco is 99% safer than smoking. The risk for using it is practically the same as not using it. Dr. Hummel and other Prohibitionists would like to see all tobacco use stopped. It's naive' and will never happen. In the meantime, responsible physicians are encouraging the use ot Tobacco Harm Reduction Products like smokeless, e-cigs etc..
Tobacco (by: Blindman - 2/12/2013)
Smoking/oral tobacco use is not smart. Any turkey can smoke or chew. Tobacco use absolutely leads to addiction. No matter what anyone may say to the contrary; addiction is a form of weakness... and it creeps into the psyche of good people ever so slowly to tear their world apart. Just take a look around, outside the convenience stores, at the park, social gatherings, walking down the street, uninsured motorist driving, hanging out in the alleyways, you will see many of the lowest forms of human life in society publicly displaying their addiction to tobacco. They do it with alcohol too, the "weak" can't control their drinking, they fry their brains on alcohol while smoking too. Nothing more disgusting than an intoxicated smoker that thinks he's "on a roll" babbling in your face. This sad existence manifest itself slowly over time. Most people know someone like this, if your young, don't let it happen to you! Be strong by staying tobacco free!
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