The Tobacco Free Partnership of DeSoto County and the Florida Department of Health’s Tobacco Free Florida program are raising awareness about the dangers of smokeless tobacco such as chew and dip during Through With Chew Week, which runs Feb. 19-25, with the Great American Spit Out—a day when smokeless tobacco users join together to quit—on Feb. 23.

To raise awareness about the dangers of smokeless tobacco use, the Tobacco Free Partnership of Clay County is hosting informational tables and activities at DeSoto Middle and DeSoto High through Students Working Against Tobacco, or SWAT, Clubs in DeSoto County.

At least 28 cancer-causing chemicals have been identified in smokeless tobacco. Smokeless tobacco users have an 80 percent higher risk of oral cancer and a 60 percent higher risk of esophageal cancer and pancreatic cancer compared to non-users. Currently, there is no scientific or medical evidence that proves smokeless tobacco use is an effective method to help people quit smoking. Floridians who want to quit any form of tobacco have access to the state’s free and proven effective resources. www.tobaccofreeflorida.com/quityourway

The department’s Tobacco Free Florida campaign is a statewide cessation and prevention campaign funded by Florida’s tobacco settlement fund. Since the program began in 2007, more than 159,000 Floridians have successfully quit using one of Tobacco Free Florida’s free tools and services. To learn more about Tobacco Free Florida’s Quit Your Way services, visit www.tobaccofreeflorida.com or follow the campaign on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TobaccoFreeFlorida or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/tobaccofreefla.

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