FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014
Dave Brendsel Andy Cohen
Communications Specialist Webb Strategic Communications
Prevention Services Division 303-796-8888
‘Through with Chew’ highlights dangers of dipping
‘Chew, dip, snus’ more popular with Colorado youth than adults
DENVER – One in eight male high school students in Colorado chew tobacco. On average, chewing tobacco contains more nicotine than cigarettes, making it likely users will develop an addiction that is difficult to end.
TobaccoFreeCO.org, an effort of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, is using “Through with Chew” Week (Feb. 16–22) to raise awareness of the dangers of chewing tobacco, keep young people from starting and help current users quit.
“Through with Chew Week is for sharing the facts about smokeless tobacco,” said Dr. Larry Wolk, executive director and chief medical officer at the department. “There is no safe, or less dangerous, tobacco product. It is important that young people and adults realize smokeless does not mean harmless.”
Chewing tobacco contains at least 28 chemicals known to cause cancer in the mouth, esophagus and pancreas. Heart disease, gum disease, and bone loss and disfigurement of the jaw also are possible consequences.
State health data show 3.7 percent of Colorado adults chew tobacco. Teen use is much higher, with 7.4 percent of all Colorado high school students and 12.9 of high school boys saying they chew tobacco.
TobaccoFreeCO.org provides facts about tobacco use, educational tools for schools and community organizations, and access to free and low-cost resources for those who want to quit.
TobaccoFreeCO.org has enlisted the help of professional rodeo cowboy Josh Peek, a native of Pueblo, to share its message. Though many in his sport use smokeless tobacco, Peek does not. Peek will tell his story, and his reasons for avoiding smokeless tobacco, in radio interviews across the state.
About the tobacco education, prevention and cessation grant program
The TobaccoFreeCO.org campaign is funded through revenues generated from the voter-approved 2004 Colorado Amendment 35. The amendment created a tax of 84 cents on cigarette packs and increased taxes on other tobacco products by 20 percent. More than 95 percent of Amendment 35 funds are awarded to nonprofits, government agencies and businesses across the state through grants. The grant program is administered by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment‘s Prevention Services Division.