Hendry/Glades — The Florida Department of Health in Hendry and Glades Counties joins the Hendry County Tobacco Free Partnership and the Florida Department of Health’s Tobacco Free Florida Program to raise awareness about the dangers of smokeless tobacco – like chew and dip, during Through With Chew Week. This public awareness campaign was created to reduce the use of smokeless tobacco among young people and help combat this deadly addiction. This year’s Through With Chew Week takes place .
“Smokeless tobacco is not a safe alternative to tobacco use. In 2016 approximately 29.4% of 5-17 year olds in Hendry County reported using vape or e-cigarettes.18.5% stated for Glades. The State average for this group is 25.8%“. stated Joe Pepe, Administrator/Health Officer for the Florida Department of Health in Hendry and Glades Counties.
To raise awareness about the dangers of smokeless tobacco use, The Hendry County Tobacco Free Partnership is participating in the Swamp Cabbage Parade in Hendry County. The parade takes place on Feb. 24, 2018, at 10 a.m. Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) students will be walking in recognition of the dangers of smokeless tobacco use. The students will be creating and holding signs explaining the risks of smokeless tobacco as well as the benefits of quitting.
Although smokeless tobacco use is low, the rate has fluctuated and disproportionately affects certain areas:
· In 2012, the rate of adult smokeless tobacco use was 3.2 percent. In 2016, the rate was at 3.0 percent. This decrease is minimal compared to the rate at which cigarette use has dropped (17.7 percent to 15.5 percent).[i]
· Rural communities in particular have experienced challenges in battling smokeless tobacco use. Individuals living in these areas are more likely to use tobacco – particularly smokeless tobacco.[ii]
“While we are proud that youth smokeless use is at an all-time low, the number of adult Floridians using smokeless tobacco is still an issue,” said Dr. Kellie O’Dare, Tobacco Free Florida Bureau Chief. "We want to remind smokeless tobacco users that our cessation services are for everyone – not just smokers.”
At least 28 cancer-causing chemicals have been identified in smokeless tobacco.[iii] Smokeless tobacco users have an 80 percent higher risk of oral cancer and a 60 percent higher risk of esophageal cancer and pancreatic cancer compared to non-users.[iv]
There is no scientific or medical evidence that proves smokeless tobacco use is an effective method to help people quit smoking.Floridians who want to quit any form of tobacco have access to the state’s free and proven-effective resources. For more information, please visit www.tobaccofreeflorida.com.