‘Spit-Out’ combats smokeless tobacco

| February 17, 2011 | 0 Comments

Wendy LaRoche
Army News Service



ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — The “Great American Spit-Out” occurs in February each year to raise awareness of the dangers associated with smokeless tobacco. This year, the Great American Spit-Out is Feb. 24.

Myths concerning smokeless tobacco still exist, giving tobacco users a false hope that smokeless tobacco is a safe alternative to smoking tobacco. In reality, smokeless tobacco increases the risk of oral cancer, which includes cancer of the lip, tongue, cheeks, gums and the roof of the mouth.

Constant exposure to tobacco juices causes cancer of the esophagus, pharynx, larynx, stomach, bladder and pancreas. Gum recession, disease and tooth decay have also been associated with smokeless tobacco use.

Smokeless tobacco contains 28 carcinogens, or cancer-causing agents. Although many smokeless tobacco users know there are cancer-causing affects, they just can’t stop. The nicotine in these products is addictive.

Nicotine absorption in smokeless tobacco products is three to four times higher than that of smoking tobacco products. Nicotine is as addictive as heroin or cocaine, so it may take smokeless tobacco users many attempts before they are able to fully kick the habit.

The key is to continue trying. Several steps, including the following, encompass a quit plan:

•Let your health care provider know of your decision to quit. Medications can help, if necessary.

•Chew sugarless gum or snack on sugarless candy, raw carrots, celery and nuts when you have an urge.

•Also drink plenty of water and use a straw to help with the need to chew.

•Have an emergency support plan in place, including in person, on the phone or online supporting resources.

(Editor’s Note: Wendy LaRoche works with U.S. Army Public Health Command-Provisional.) 



Category: Army News Service, Community, Health

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