2012 Media Releases

February 15, 2012
For More Information Contact:
Brian Baker, 402-441-8046

February 19-25 is Through With Chew Week

Not all tobacco is smoked, and the week of February 19-25 - national Through with Chew Week - is an excellent time to call attention to smokeless tobacco use in Nebraska.

"Smokeless tobacco is not a safe alternative to smoking and is even more habit forming because it contains a higher concentration of nicotine than cigarettes," said Dick Patterson, with the Tobacco Free Lancaster County coalition. According to the 2010 Nebraska Youth Risk Behavior Survey of 9th - 12th graders, 10% of Nebraska high school males used smokeless tobacco within the past 30 days. Nebraska's combined total (male and female) is 6%.

"Smokeless tobacco use is more common in Nebraska than the nation as a whole," said Patterson. "Young adults who try smokeless tobacco for the first time are often drawn by the flavors: mint, vanilla, or apple and milder tastes."

"Smokeless tobacco can cause oral cancer, especially in the cheeks, gums, and throat," said Susan Christensen, DDS of Eastview Family Dental Clinic. "The use of smokeless tobacco can also lead to other oral problems such as mouth sores, gum recessions, tooth decay, bad breath, and permanently discolored teeth."

For Nebraskans who are ready to quit using smokeless tobacco, free Quit Spit Kits are available by texting IMREADY to 39649 (standard texting rates apply). Also, MyLastDip.com features free Web-based programs to help chewers quit. One program targets 14 - 25 year olds, the other targets those 26+. Chewers can also call the free and confidential Nebraska Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-784-8669, or visit QuitNow.ne.gov for resources and information.

Tobacco Free Lancaster County is a collaborative effort that focuses on keeping youth from starting to use tobacco, reducing access to tobacco products, and increasing awareness about the dangers of secondhand smoke. It's funded by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services/Tobacco Free Nebraska Program as a result of the tobacco master settlement agreement.