NH DHHS - Declares Through with Chew Week February 17-23, 2013

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

(DHHS) will declare February 17-23 Through with Chew Week, following the

lead of other states in the nation concerned with the oral health of their

residents, especially youth.

Through with Chew Week started in the state of Wyoming to draw attention to

the health issues related to smokeless tobacco. Among the health effects

caused by smokeless tobacco, cancer and poor oral health are the most

common. After increasing for many years, the use of smokeless tobacco by

New Hampshire youth has leveled off, according to the latest data from the

NH Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (2011 YRBS). The percentage of

female smokeless tobacco users (2.2%) is significantly lower than the male

students (14.2%) (2011 YRBS).

The use of smokeless tobacco is at 3% for New Hampshire adults, and 45% of

adult smokeless tobacco users also smoke cigarettes (2011 NH Behavioral

Risk Factor Surveillance System, BRFSS). Nationally, declines in the use of

smokeless tobacco by youth and young adults have stalled after years of

steady progress. New Hampshire has the opportunity to do more to educate

students about the harmful effects of smokeless tobacco and maintain the

gains currently being made in the oral health of the young.

“The use of smokeless tobacco is not a safe substitute for smoking

cigarettes,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS.

“Smokeless tobacco can cause cancer and lead to nicotine addiction and

dependence. Scientific evidence clearly demonstrates the need for intense

and sustained efforts to prevent our young people from using tobacco.”

Smokeless tobacco is tobacco that is not burned. Other recent products on

the market are snus, orbs, sticks, and dissolvables. Smokeless tobacco is

associated with oral cancer, esophageal cancer, and pancreatic cancer.

Using smokeless tobacco may also cause heart disease, gum disease, and oral

lesions other than cancer, such as leukoplakia (precancerous white patches

in the mouth). The price of treating disease and disfigurement is costly

and many of these diseases result in deformation or death. But they can be


"Effects from prolonged use of chewing tobacco are often visible on the gum

tissue where the user holds the wad of tobacco,” said Montero. “Gum

recession and pre-cancerous oral lesions may be the first sign of a problem

identified during a visit to the dentist. However, quitting is achievable,

especially when combined with counseling and nicotine replacement

therapies. Of course the best thing for youth is to never start.”

To hold your own Through with Chew Week or the Great American Spit Out,

visit www.ThroughWithChew.com. For information or free support in quitting,

call the NH Tobacco Helpline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visit

www.TryToStopNH.org  and www.MyLastDip.org . Visit www.DHHS.NH.gov  for more

information on the NH Oral Health Program.