Texas Department of State Health Services’ Spit It Out campaign..

July 22, 2009 - Weather it’s known as snuff, chew or dip, many Texas teens new smokeless or spit tobacco as a safer alternative to smoking. Texas teens now outnumber adults two to one when it comes to spit tobacco use. About 552,000 Texas teens use the product.The average age a which a Texas teen starts spitting tobacco is 13, or around the sixth grade. Based on the 2008 Youth Tobacco Survey, 7.3 percent of Texas high school youth and 4.4 percent of Texas middle school youth use spit tobacco.

In support of the Texas Department of State Health Services’ Spit It Out campaign, the Prevention Resource Center-Region 3 aims to arm teens with the facts about spit tobacco and its health effects. Spit tobacco is addictive and harmful. It contains nicotine, the addictive ingredient in Tobacco, as well as additives that increase the rate at which nicotine is absorbed into the body. According to Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, people who consume 8-10 dips or chews per day receive the same amount of nicotine as a smoker who smokes 30-40 cigarettes a day.

The tobacco companies prefer to market spit tobacco as smokeless tobacco, in hopes that consumers will see ‘smokeless’ and think ‘harmless’. Different spit tobacco like Camel Snus, the latest in smokeless tobacco products targeted a new generation of chaw users.The U.S. Surgeon General reports that spit tobacco is not a safe substitute for smoking cigarettes, causing cancer and a number of non-cancerous oral conditions. In fact, teens that use spit tobacco are more likely to use cigarettes as they grow older.

Spit It Out campaign’s overall is to prevent youth tobacco use among the teenage targeted audience, ages 13-17. The campaign’s objectives include: education, emphasizing the health consequences spit tobacco use cause and encouraging youth to decide for themselves what they believe and what they will do to making healthy life choices.

Teens can visit the official Spit It Out website at www.SpitItOutTexas.org to learn more about the dangers and consequences of using spit tobacco, play games, and view public service announcements featuring the Jackalope as the campaign mascot.The Region 3 Prevention Resource Center (PRC) is a program of the Texas Department State of Health Services and Greater Dallas Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse. The PRC provides prevention materials and services to 19 North Texas counties.

If you would like more information on tobacco or other drug prevention topics, please
visit www.prc3.org or call 214-552-8600.

Reference: Texas Spit It Out CampaignJennifer Williams, Tobacco Prevention Specialist, Greater Dallas Council on Alcohol & Drug Abuse, The Forney Post, 7/21/2009.