This Through With Chew Week, Feb. 18-24, Tobacco Free Florida and Florida Department of Health in Jefferson County are encouraging smokeless tobacco users to set a quit date and create a personalized quit plan using Tobacco Free Florida’s free Quit Your Way tools and services. Through With Chew Week raises awareness about the dangers of smokeless tobacco use (chew, dip and snus) and the many effective resources available to quit.
Smokeless tobacco is not harmless and can lead to nicotine addiction. Smokeless tobacco causes cancer of the mouth, throat and pancreas, as well as increased risk of death from heart disease or stroke. In fact, 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.
The Tobacco-Free Jefferson Partnership mailed out a “Through with Chew Week” educational packet to local churches to educate parishioners through their weekly church bulletins. In addition, the Partnership will be hosting several events throughout the week to educate community residents about the health hazards of smokeless tobacco products and about free local classes to help residents who want to quit using tobacco and electronic cigarette products. Event dates, times and places are listed below.
The Tobacco Free Jefferson Partnership and Big Bend AHEC will have tobacco prevention information available, including smokeless tobacco, and will host a cessation class on site for anyone who wants to quit using tobacco and electronic cigarette products. This will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 19 from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Strowbridge Health Fitness and Performance Center, located at 1240 N. Jefferson Street in Monticello.
Tobacco Free Jefferson Partnership members will have tobacco prevention information available at the Heart Health Awareness Event, in the Winn-Dixie Parking lot on Thursday, Feb. 21 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Tobacco Prevention Informational displays will be available at participating restaurants with Tobacco Free Jefferson Partnership contact information and education materials on the health hazards of smokeless tobacco products.
While smokeless tobacco users among Florida youth (11-17) have decreased throughout the years, many rural communities have significantly higher prevalence rates. The current youth smokeless tobacco rates in some of Florida’s rural areas are two to four times higher than the state average.
According to the Florida Youth Tobacco Survey in 2018, the rate Jefferson County youth currently using cigarettes, cigars, or smokeless tobacco products was 8.3 percent, 3.1 percent higher than the state rate.
Tobacco Free Florida offers free tools and services for Floridians looking to quit any form of tobacco, including smokeless. Those looking to quit can call (1-877) U-CAN-NOW
(1-877-822-6669) or visit tobaccofreeflorida.com/quityourway.