Through With Chew Week draws attention to habit

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By Health Promotions Office

HILL AIR FORCE BASE — Although Feb. 16-22 was officially designated “Through With Chew Week” to call attention to the dangers of using chew, including chewing tobacco and snuff, the Hill Air Force Base Health Promotions Office said it’s never too late to stop.

Most people chew or suck the tobacco, also known as dip, in their mouth and spit out the tobacco juices that build up, although “spitless” smokeless tobacco has also been developed. Nicotine is the addictive drug in the tobacco and is absorbed through the lining of the mouth. 

Here are some facts about smokeless tobacco:

• There are two main types of products referred to as “chew”: chewing tobacco and snuff. These products may also be referred to as “dip”, “spit” or “snus.” 

• Chewing tobacco usually comes in leaf or brick form. It is then placed in the mouth between the cheek and gum, typically toward the back of the mouth. Saliva is either spit out or swallowed. 

• Snuff is generally powder, or finely ground tobacco. Users typically place a pinch (or pouch, for some products) between the cheek and gum, or behind the upper and lower lip. 

• Chew products contain at least 28 chemicals known to cause cancer. 

• Most common types of cancer associated with chew are oral, esophageal and pancreatic. 

• Chew can also cause gum disease, heart disease and precancerous lesions in the mouth. 

• Other oral conditions caused by chew can include: removal of tongue if cancerous, cancer of jaw or bone loss, gum recession or peeling back gums, bone loss around teeth, bad breath. 

• Chew delivers a high dose of nicotine — the average nicotine dose for snuff is 3.6 milligrams and 4.5 milligrams for chewing tobacco. A cigarette typically contains 1-2 milligrams of nicotine. 

Most tobacco users try to quit many times before they finally succeed. Users who have tried to quit on their own without success should try again by using what they learned from prior attempts to quit. 

For information on the programs that are available to assist in making quitting a success, call Health Promotions at 801-777-1215.