“Through With Chew Week” is set for February 18-24, 2018, with Thursday, February 22, designated as the “Great American Spit Out.” These annual events call attention to the health risks and dangers associated with smokeless tobacco use. “This week, we are focusing on raising awareness of how dangerous using smokeless tobacco can be to our health,” said Melissa Markegard with Fargo Cass Public Health. “Tobacco companies don’t want the public to know the truth about their products. Smokeless tobacco is not a safer alternative to cigarettes and can cause cancer and mouth diseases, as well as increase the risk of heart disease and stillbirth in pregnant women.”
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). Fargo Cass Public Health is proud to help prevent the use of smokeless tobacco, especially among young people, and assist those who are ready to quit.
Reducing the rate of smokeless tobacco use is a top priority at Fargo Cass Public Health because it reduces the risk of cancer, heart disease, birth defects and even death. Events such as “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.
Visit NDQuits for help with quitting smokeless tobacco.