TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Feb. 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Tobacco Free Florida is encouraging Floridians to learn the facts about the harmful effects of using smokeless tobacco and to make a plan to stop using these products. To help raise awareness, the Florida Department of Health's Bureau of Tobacco Free Florida is observing Through With Chew Week from February 16-22.
Compared to the decrease in youth cigarette use, there has not been a significant change in the use of smokeless tobacco products among youth. In 2013, 5 percent of Florida high school students reported current use of smokeless tobacco products 1 compared to 5.1 percent a decade ago. 2 Smokeless tobacco includes products such as chew, spit, dip, snuff and snus. These products are commonly used by placing the product between the teeth and gum. The chemicals in smokeless tobacco are then absorbed into the bloodstream through the skin.
"Smokeless tobacco is not a safe alternative to cigarette smoking as some youth may believe," said Tobacco Free Florida Bureau Chief Shannon Hughes. "In fact, some of these products may contain a higher concentration of nicotine than the average cigarette." 3
There are many dangers associated with the use of smokeless tobacco. Some of the harmful effects include:
- Cancers of the mouth, tongue, cheek, throat, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, pharynx and larynx
- Increased risk of heart attack and stroke
- Leukoplakia (oral lesions on the cheeks gums, and/or tongue)