News and Events

Levy County Celebrates "Through With Chew Week"
February 22, 2020

Through With Chew Week is an annual national tobacco control observance to raise awareness about the dangers of smokeless tobacco use (chew, dip and snus) and the effective tools available to quit. Through With Chew Week took place this year on February 16-22nd and the Tobacco Free Partnership of Levy County and Students Working Against Tobacco school clubs spent the week educating and encouraging smokeless tobacco users to set a quit date.

“We still see a significant amount of smokeless tobacco use in our rural area,” says Kristina Zachry, the Levy Community Health Advocate for the QuitDoc Foundation. “Smokeless tobacco is not harmless and using it can cause serious health problems. We want the citizens and youth of Levy County to know that Tobacco Free Florida has free tools and services to help them break the addiction and live healthier lives.”

Smokeless tobacco is not harmless and can lead to nicotine addiction (1). Smokeless tobacco causes cancer of the mouth, esophagus and pancreas, as well as increased risk of death from heart disease or stroke (2,3). Smokeless tobacco can cause white or gray patches inside the mouth (leukoplakia) that can lead to cancer (4). It can also cause gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss (5,6).

Mrs. Zachry was at the Tri County Community Resource Center in Chiefland on February 20th to share resources with the community and to engage in conversations about the smokeless tobacco issue and how the Tobacco Free Partnership of Levy County is working to create a healthier Levy County through policy changes. There are also various print resources available to community organizations, schools, healthcare providers, dentist offices and others to spread awareness about the dangers of smokeless tobacco and to promote the free cessation resources Florida provides.

Additionally, the Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) teams at Levy’s middle and high schools promoted smokeless tobacco awareness throughout the week with educational posters and awareness activities at their schools. According to the Florida Youth Survey from 2018, 6.8% of Levy County youth aged 11-17 report currently using smokeless tobacco, compared to 1.7% of Florida’s youth overall.7 Since youth smokeless tobacco use is four times higher in Levy County than the state’s rate, it is very important for parents, teachers, and other role models for youth to encourage them to quit and to support them with resources and prevention education.

Those looking to quit all kinds of tobacco can create a personalized quit plan using Tobacco Free Florida’s free Quit Your Way tools and services. The Quit Your Way program offers free tools and services like Phone Quit, Group Quit and Web Quit, in addition to individual tools like text support, a Quit Guide and helpful emails. Free nicotine replacement therapy – nicotine patches, gum or lozenges – are available to tobacco users who are 18 or older, if medically appropriate.

For more information on quitting tobacco, you can call 1-877-U-CAN-NOW (1-877-822-6669) or visit tobaccofreeflorida.com. For more information on the Tobacco Free Partnership of Levy County, Students Working Against Tobacco, or to receive prevention resources mentioned in this article, please contact Kristina Zachry at KZachry@QuitDoc.com.

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References:

  1. Cancer Prevention & Early Detection Facts and Figures 2010.
  2. World Health Organization. IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans. Volume 89: Smokeless Tobacco and Some Tobacco-Specific N-Nitrosamines. Lyon (France): World Health Organization, International Agency for Research on Cancer, 2007 [accessed 2019 Oct 31].
  3. Piano MR, Benowitz NL, Fitzgerald GA, Corbridge S, Heath J, Hahn E, et al. Impact of Smokeless Tobacco Products on Cardiovascular Disease: Implications for Policy, Prevention, and Treatment: A Policy Statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation 2010;122(15):1520–44.
  4. World Health Organization. IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans. Volume 89: Smokeless Tobacco and Some Tobacco-Specific N-Nitrosaminespdf iconexternal icon. Lyon (France): World Health Organization, International Agency for Research on Cancer, 2007
  5. World Health Organization. IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans. Volume 89: Smokeless Tobacco and Some Tobacco-Specific N-Nitrosaminespdf iconexternal icon. Lyon (France): World Health Organization, International Agency for Research on Cancer, 2007
  6. Piano MR, Benowitz NL, Fitzgerald GA, Corbridge S, Heath J, Hahn E, et al. Impact of Smokeless Tobacco Products on Cardiovascular Disease: Implications for Policy, Prevention, and Treatment: A Policy Statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation 2010;122(15):1520–44