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Smokeless Tobacco And Cancer Link Found: Why FDA Hates Chews, Dips

Update Date: Apr 21, 2016 06:09 AM EDT
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The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have highlighted the dangers of smokeless tobacco on its advertisements for the first time. Their goal is to educate the rural, white male teenagers who are usually the victims of this cancer causing habit.

The FDA's award-winning campaign "The Real Cost" informs the smokeless tobacco users that it causes nicotine addiction, tooth loss, gum disease and multiple kinds of cancer. It has been placed on the advertisements in 35 U.S. markets, according to FDA.gov.

"Not only is the target audience using smokeless tobacco at a high rate, but many do not fully understand the negative health consequences of their actions," said Mitch Zeller, J.D., director of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products.

"In communities where smokeless tobacco use is part of the culture, reaching at-risk teens with compelling messaging is critical to help change their understanding of the risks and harms associated with smokeless tobacco use," he added.

Smokeless tobacco is sold in forms of chew, dip, snus and other types of tobacco that dissolves in mouth. Almost 1,000 males under the age of 18 are being introduced to smokeless tobacco every day, said the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

FDA says that around 32 percent of males living in rural areas, ages 12 to 17 are at-risk for using smokeless tobacco. Zeller said that this cancerous habit is already ingrained in most rural communities as a "rite of passage," as reported by CTV News.

"Often male teenagers in rural communities are accustomed to seeing smokeless tobacco use among role models, such as their fathers and grandfathers, older brothers and community leaders," said Zeller.

Meanwhile, the government health officials in their efforts to stop teens from using smokeless tobacco, will team up with the minor baseball league, as part of "The Real Cost" Smokeless Tobacco Prevention Campaign. The baseball stadiums will feature the campaign message "smokeless doesn't mean harmless" through promotions and advertising with the players. It will also be aired on local TV, radio and online across the U.S. which includes the cities in Michigan, Montana, South Carolina and Tennessee.

The FDA also launched a campaign through hip-hop music and culture last October, aiming to educate African American and other urban minority youth groups regarding the risks of cigarette smoking.

"The Real Cost" Smokeless Tobacco Prevention Campaign is part of the FDA's ongoing effort to stop the youth from starting to use tobacco.

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