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DOH-Putnam - Tobacco Free Florida Encourages Communities to Skip the Dip During Through with Chew Week

February 19, 2019

Skip the Dip Flyer

Palatka, Fla. - This Through With Chew Week, Feb. 18-24, Tobacco Free Florida and the Putnam County Health Department are encouraging smokeless tobacco users to set a quit date and create a personalized quit plan using Tobacco Free Florida's free Quit Your Way tools and services. Through With Chew Week raises awareness about the dangers of smokeless tobacco use (chew, dip and snus) and the many effective resources available to quit.

"Adults serve as role models to our youth and help shape their behaviors at a young age", says Jennifer Ramos, Putnam County Health Department Tobacco Program Manager. "We need to make sure we are taking care of ourselves, each other and protecting our future generations from picking up habits we know are not healthy. That is why tobacco cessation and creating tobacco free environments are so important".

Smokeless tobacco is not harmless and can lead to nicotine addiction. Smokeless tobacco causes cancer of the mouth, throat and pancreas, as well as increased risk of death from heart disease or stroke. In fact, smokeless tobacco users have an 80 percent higher risk of oral cancer and a 60 percent higher risk of esophageal cancer and pancreatic cancer compared to non-users.

This week, we want our community to support tobacco free environments by refraining from using tobacco in public places and encourage tobacco users to skip the dip. The Putnam Community Medical Center offers one-time, 2-hour Tools to Quit group classes the first Saturday and fourth Wednesday of each month.

While smokeless tobacco use among Florida youth (11-17) has decreased throughout the years, many rural communities have significantly higher prevalence rates. The current youth smokeless tobacco rates in some of Florida's rural counties are two to four times higher than the state average.

In Putnam County, 5.4% of our youth (ages 11-17) currently use some form of smokeless tobacco, compared to 1.7% statewide. The percentage of youth who use smokeless tobacco on school property is more than double that of the state. Together, we can work towards achieving a tobacco free community.

Tobacco Free Florida offers free tools and services for Floridians looking to quit any form of tobacco, including smokeless. Those looking to quit can call 1-877-U-CAN-NOW (1-877-822-6669) or visit www.tobaccofreeflorida.com/quityourway.

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About the Florida Department of Health

The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

Follow us on Twitter at @HealthyFla and on Facebook. For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit www.FloridaHealth.gov.

About Tobacco Free Florida

The department's Tobacco Free Florida campaign is a statewide cessation and prevention campaign funded by Florida's tobacco settlement fund. Since the program began in 2007, more than 212,000 Floridians have successfully quit using one of Tobacco Free Florida's free tools and services. There are now approximately 451,000 fewer adult smokers in Florida than there was 10 years ago, and the state has saved $17.7 billion in health care costs. To learn more about Tobacco Free Florida's Quit Your Way services, visit www.tobaccofreeflorida.com or follow the campaign on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TobaccoFreeFlorida or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/tobaccofreefla.