Spit It Out For Good

A pinch, chaw, chew, hogger, a lip, a fatty, rub, snuff, dags or what ever other form of vernacular you call it in your neck of the words, it is time to get real and spit it out during the Great American Spit Out on February 18.  The date is also part of the Through With Chew (TWC) Week February 14 – 20.

Through With Chew Week started in 1989 by the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation, Inc. in an effort to educate the public.  Since using chew has been associated with baseball, TWC joined with another organization in 1994, the Oral Health America’s National Spit Tobacco Education Program (NSTEP) to help “break the connection between baseball and smokeless tobacco” among young players.

smokeless_001According to NSTEP, “almost half (46%) of new users are under 18 when they first try” smokeless tobacco.  And the Centers for Disease Control reports “more than 5 of every 100 high school students (5.5%) reported current use of smokeless tobacco.  While many of these students probably use smokeless tobacco because they believe it is safer than cigarette smoking or they feel it gives them an edge in sports, it is not without risks.

Smokeless tobacco contains at least 28 cancer-causing chemicals putting its users at a higher risk for oral cancer than non-users.  Users are also more likely to develop stained teeth, cavities, or lose their teeth altogether.  They can also develop smokeless_warningsreceding gums and gum disease. And those are just the risks can you see. Users are also at a higher risk for cancer of the esophagus and pancreatic cancer as well.

Not all the risks are cancer-related.  A can of dip contains a large amount of nicotine, approximately 144 milligrams, which is the equivalent of about 80 cigarettes, or about four packs of cigarettes.  All that nicotine causes issues with blood pressure and increases your risk of heart disease and stroke.  It also makes this product highly addictive and habit forming.

Cigarette smoking by youth has decreased in Florida by almost 75% since 1998, but declines of smokeless tobacco use are much smaller, according to the 2015 Florida Youth Tobacco Survey.  While there has been a 29.0% decrease since 1998, the 4.9% figure for 2015 is not the lowest since reporting began.  That occurred in 2002 when 4.6% was reported.  Since then, the numbers have seen small increases and decreases, reaching a high of 6.4% for 2010 and 2011 before roller coasting to our current low.

There is no proof that smokeless tobacco products can help you quit smoking, but it could get you hooked to another tobacco product.  If you need help quitting spit tobacco, there are several websites below to check out and find the one that works for you.  Good luck!

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NSTEP Resources for Quitting Spit Tobacco
Quit Tobacco: UCanQuit2.org – is an educational campaign for the U.S. military, sponsored by the U.S. Dept of Defense.
Kill the Can
Smokeless Tobacco: A Guide for Quitting – National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
Quit Smokeless
Tobacco Free Florida

 

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