‘Through With Chew Week’ highlights dangers of smokeless tobacco use

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Smokeless tobacco may not be getting as much press as e-cigarettes and vaping, but it is as addictive and has many harmful side effects.

For these reasons, the Alabama Department of Public Health encourages smokeless tobacco users to quit the spit during “Through With Chew Week,” Feb. 18-22.

The education campaign to decrease smokeless tobacco use and increase awareness of the negative health effects of using smokeless tobacco products.

In Alabama, over 6 percent of adults currently use smokeless tobacco; more than 9 percent of teens said they'd used smokeless tobacco in the past 30 days; and over 20 percent of high schoolers said they'd tried it at least once, according to the Alabama Youth Tobacco Survey.

“Smokeless does not mean harmless,” said Julie Hare, Alabama Tobacco Quitline director. “Smokeless tobacco use can cause oral, esophageal and pancreatic cancers, and lead to tooth loss and gum recession,” she said. At least 28 cancer-causing chemicals have been found in smokeless tobacco, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Young people who use smokeless tobacco can become addicted to the nicotine it contains, making them more likely to also become cigarette smokers.

Those who want to be “Through With Chew” can call the Quitline (1-800-Quit-Now) for help in quitting. Quitline coaching services are available seven days a week from 6 a.m. to midnight. Services are offered online at www.quitnowalabama.com.

The Quitline provides free, individualized coaching to help any type of smoker and smokeless tobacco user, including e-cigarettes and vape, to quit. In addition, the Quitline offers up to eight weeks of free nicotine patches to those medically eligible enrolled in the coaching program.

For free help to be “Through With Chew,” call the Quitline at 800-784-8669, or visit www.quitnowalabama.com.

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