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The Great American Spit-Out occurs in February of each year as a means to raise awareness of the dangers associated with smokeless tobacco. This year, the Great American Spit-Out will occur Feb. 23.
During the Great American Spit-Out, Bismarck Burleigh Public Health and Bismarck area school students encourage North Dakotans who use smokeless products to quit for at least one day.
To help spread the word on the harms of tobacco, Bismarck area students who attended the 6th Annual Bismarck Tobacco Prevention Youth Summit last fall, developed public service announcements (PSA’s). Bismarck High School produced “Because I” and Horizon Middle School developed “It stole my life.” Both PSAs are video productions and viewable at http://www.breathend.com/
Bismarck Burleigh Public Health Outreach Coordinator Susan Kahler said that the students are excited to share what they have learned about tobacco prevention and choosing healthier lifestyles by not using any kind of tobacco.
In North Dakota, smokeless tobacco - also known as spit tobacco, chewing tobacco, snuff, snus or dip -is used by 5 percent of adults and 13.6 percent of students in grades nine through 12. Many people have the misconception that smokeless tobacco is a safer alternative to smoking, but supporting evidence shows that it is just as deadly.
“Smokeless tobacco may not receive the same kind of attention that smoking cigarettes does, but that should not detract from the fact that it’s a harmful product that leads to nicotine addiction and causes cancer,” said Kahler.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one chew of smokeless tobacco delivers as much nicotine as two to three cigarettes, contains 28 cancer-causing agents, and is the sixth leading cancer in men.
To assist smokeless tobacco users in quitting, Bismarck Burleigh Public Health encourages users to call the North Dakota Tobacco Helpline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).