Chattanooga dentists, as well as the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department have proclaimed the week of Feb. 15-21, as "Through With Chew Week" in a effort to call attention to the risks associated with the use of smokeless tobacco which includes chewing tobacco, dip, and snuff.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Youth Behavioral Risk Survey, 2007), Tennessee continues to be above the national average in most categories of tobacco usage. In the use of smokeless tobacco, Tennessee white males have rates more than twice the national average.
"Smokeless tobacco is not a safe alternative to cigarettes, as some young people believe, and it is even more habit forming because it contains a higher concentration of nicotine than cigarettes," said Dr. Chuck Holt, president of Chattanooga Area Dental Society.
Smokeless tobacco can cause oral cancer, especially in the cheeks, gums, tongue, and throat. In addition, smokeless tobacco is addicting. Dr. Holt said, "The use of smokeless tobacco can also lead to other oral problems, such as mouth sores, gum recession, tooth decay, bad breath, and permanent discoloration of the teeth."
Hamilton County residents have several resources available to help them quit smokeless tobacco. These include:
·Tennessee Quit Line: 1 800-QUIT NOW
·Hamilton County Tobacco Resource line: 209-8285