Through With Chew Week helps reduce smokeless tobacco use
Through With Chew Week is planned for February 18 - 22, 2019, with Thursday, February 21, designated as the Great American Spit Out. These annual events call attention to the health risks and dangers associated with smokeless tobacco use. During Through With Chew Week, First District Health Unit will be providing smokeless tobacco users with tools to quit tobacco, educating our community about the ways smokeless tobacco can cause harm, and encouraging young people never to start using these products.
“It is a common misconception that smokeless tobacco products are safe alternatives to cigarettes. In fact, there is no safe tobacco product,” said Bonnie Riely with First District Health Unit (FDHU). “These products, which you probably know as chew, dip or snuff, have all been proven to cause cancers of the mouth, esophagus and pancreas, as well as many other health problems. Through With Chew Week helps connect North Dakotans with the information and resources to help them make healthy decisions.”
For those who are interested in quitting smokeless tobacco products, help is available. Although many people may think that cessation services like NDQuits and Kick Start only help people quit smoking, that’s not the case. These programs are very effective for helping people quit smokeless tobacco and vaping, too.
Unfortunately, smokeless tobacco use is typically higher for young people in North Dakota than adults. In 2017, North Dakota’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey showed 8.0 percent of North Dakota high school students currently use chew, snuff, snus or dip. This is down from 2015, when 10.6 percent of high school students in the state reported using smokeless tobacco. Though progress is being made, North Dakota’s youth is still reporting higher use of smokeless tobacco than the national average of 5.8 percent (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
Reducing the rate of smokeless tobacco use is important because it reduces the risk of cancer, heart disease, birth defects and even death. Events like Through With Chew Week and the Great American Spit Out are important opportunities to raise awareness and take action against tobacco use, the leading cause of preventable death and disease in North Dakota.