To the editor:
In Colorado, 7.3 percent of adult males use chew tobacco on a daily basis, compared to the national rate of 6 percent.
Chew tobacco use rates can vary dramatically according to where you live, and some areas of the southeast and southwest Colorado can have rates of adult males who chew as high as 20 percent. Among high school-aged males in Colorado, approximately 12.4 percent currently use chew tobacco, whereas the national rate is about 10 percent.
Feb. 15 to 21 is being recognized by the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association as "Through With Chew Week." It is a national health promotion event designed to educate the public on the harms of chew tobacco.
The overall public health goal is to reduce the use of smokeless tobacco among young people.
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.
Smokeless tobacco can cause oral cancer, especially in the cheeks, gums and throat.
In addition, smokeless tobacco is addicting.
The use of smokeless tobacco also can lead to other oral problems, such as mouth sores, gum recession, tooth decay, bad breath and permanent discoloration of teeth.
For more free information about smokeless tobacco, and help to quit using these products, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or the VNA at 875-1882.
Make today your quit day.
Barb Parnell & Liz Morgan
Community Health Educators