Posted Thursday, February 21, 2013 --- 12:52 p.m.
Press Release from the City of Madison:
Today the Tobacco Free Columbia-Dane County Coalition (TFCDC) recognizes the Great American Spit Out-a day to raise awareness about the dangers surrounding smokeless tobacco products.
Smoking rates among both adults and youth have recently reached all time lows in Dane County; however, we have seen an alarming increase in the use of Other Tobacco Products (OTPs), especially among our youth. Some examples of OTPs include chewing tobacco, snus, little cigars, and dissolvables. Dissolvables are not currently available in Wisconsin, but we can expect the tobacco industry to fight their hardest to make these products available in our state.
Loopholes in State law currently allow OTPs to be more accessible and cheaper to acquire. Unlike cigarettes, OTPs can be flavored and packaged just like candy and do not have to be placed behind a retail counter. In addition, these products are not taxed as steep as cigarettes, making them significantly cheaper than cigarettes.
Furthermore, these products are not a safe alternative to smoking. The Surgeon General states, "The use of smokeless tobacco products is not a safe substitute for smoking cigarettes. It can cause cancer and a number of noncancerous oral conditions and can lead to nicotine addiction and dependence". According to the National Cancer Institute, smokeless tobacco products are associated with oral and esophageal cancers, gum recession, mouth sores, gingivitis, ulcers, hypertension and heart disease. New studies are linking these products to deeper lung cancers, as well as cancers of the stomach, pancreas, and bladder.
Wisconsin's Tobacco Prevention and Control Program (TPCP) received $5.3 million from the last state budget compared to the $274 million the tobacco industry spends in our state to maintain their customer-base. Without continued support of the TPCP, 8,000 Wisconsinites will die each year from tobacco-related illnesses in addition to the State spending $2.02 billion per year on these tobacco-related health care costs.
If you are interested in quitting smokeless tobacco, please call the free Wisconsin Tobacco QuitLine at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
For more information about TFCDC, contact Ryan Sheahan, TFCDC Coordinator at 608-242-6297.
Distributed by Public Health-Madison & Dane County on behalf of
The Tobacco Free Columbia-Dane County Coalition