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Smokeless Tobacco Use Remains High

By Deanna Krautner

February 16, 2016

Pasco County and Tobacco Free Florida are raising awareness during “Through with Chew Week”  

New Port Richey, Fla. – Pasco County and the Florida Department of Health’s Bureau of Tobacco Free Florida are raising 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. “Through With Chew Week” takes place Feb. 14-20.

“We are encouraged by our drop in cigarette smoking rates here in Pasco among our youth, but we remain concerned about all smoking behaviors.” Said Mike Napier, County Health Officer. “We are seeing a rise in smokeless tobacco use and work to build awareness of the associated dangers and connect those trying to quit to the resources that can help them.”

Although youth cigarette smoking rates in Florida are at an all-time low, 6.4 percent of high school students in Pasco reported current use of smokeless tobacco products in 2014 according to the Florida Youth Tobacco Survey.[i] At least 28 cancer-causing chemicals have been identified in smokeless tobacco.[ii] 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.[iii]

To raise awareness about the dangers of smokeless tobacco use SWAT (Students Working against Tobacco) Clubs will be hosting “Through With Chew” events in some of the schools in Pasco County.

Currently, 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 free and proven-effective resources.

  • CALL: Call Tobacco Free Florida at 1-877-U-CAN-NOW to speak with a Quit Coach® who will help you assess your addiction and help you create a personalized quit plan.
  • CLICK: Tobacco Free Florida’s online cessation tool can be accessed at tobaccofreeflorida.com/webcoach.
  • COME IN: In person help is available with the help of Area Health Education Centers by calling 813-919-1000  or visiting 17819 FL-52, Land O Lakes, FL 34638

For more information, please visit www.tobaccofreeflorida.com.

About Tobacco Free Florida

The department’s Tobacco Free Florida campaign is a statewide cessation and prevention campaign funded by Florida’s tobacco settlement fund. Tobacco users interested in quitting are encouraged to use one of the state’s three ways to quit. Since 2007, more than 126,140 Floridians have successfully quit, using one of these free services. To learn more about Tobacco Free Florida and the state’s free quit resources, visit www.tobaccofreeflorida.com or follow the campaign on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TobaccoFreeFlorida or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/tobaccofreefla.

The department works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts. Follow us on Twitter at @HealthyFla and on Facebook.  For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit www.floridahealth.gov.



[i] Florida Youth Tobacco Survey (FYTS), Florida Department of Health, Bureau of Epidemiology, 2014

[ii] World Health Organization. Smokeless Tobacco and Some Tobacco-Specific N-Nitrosamines International Agency for Research on Cancer Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans Vol. 89. Lyon, (France): World Health Organization, International Agency for Research on Cancer, 2007 [accessed 2015 Feb 10].

[iii] Boffetta, P, et al., “Smokeless tobacco and cancer,” The Lancet 9:667-675, 2008.