Smokeless tobacco not any safer than cigarettes
HUNTINGTON -- Moving from smoking to chewing tobacco is not a change for the better.
"Smokeless tobacco is not a safe alternative to cigarettes," said Maxine Lewis, community tobacco prevention coordinator for the Lawrence County Health Department. "Snuff and chewing tobacco are even more habit-forming because they contain a higher concentration of nicotine than cigarettes."
In an effort to curb tobacco use, "Through with Chew Week" was created. This week, the American Cancer Society, Lawrence County Health Department and the Lawrence County QUIT Coalition will encourage people to give up chew.
The week was established in 1989 by the American Academy of Otolaryngology --Head and Neck Surgery, Inc. More than 30,000 cases of oral cancer are diagnosed each year, according to the American Cancer Society.
Lewis said quitting the chewing habit can be difficult. Users should consider a nicotine replacement cessation program -- tobacco alternatives like gum, pumpkin or sunflower seeds or dried fruit to help cope with the chewing tobacco urge. If possible, relying on support from friends and family can be helpful. Using the money that would have otherwise been spent to purchase tobacco to buy a gift is a great reward, Lewis said.
Anyone wanting more information on the dangers of smokeless tobacco or information on how to quit using tobacco can contact the Lawrence County Health Department at (740) 532-3962.