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“Through With Chew Week” Hopes To Reduce Tobacco Usage

The first person to notice the damage caused by the use of smokeless tobacco is often the chewer’s dentist. That’s why the Shasta Tobacco Education Coalition has provided free quit kits to more than 60 local dental offices. This is “Through With Chew” week, when smokeless tobacco users are encouraged to quit for a day, a week, or for good. That pinch between the cheek and gum contains up to 28 cancer-causing agents, as well as heavy metals like lead and mercury. Shasta County has more than its share of spit, with a chew rate of 5.6% compared to the state average of 3.9%. Free counseling and self-help materials are available at local dental offices, or tobaccofreeshasta.org or 1-800-no-butts.