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Nov. 19 smokeout targets smokeless tobacco, cigars

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Since the American Cancer Society began its Great American Smokeout to help cigarette smokers kick the habit, users of other tobacco products have been educated about the dangers of tobacco as well.

Smokeless tobacco.

There has been a resurgence in the use of all forms of smokeless tobacco: plug, leaf, and snuff. But, the greatest cause for concern centers on the increased use of

dipping snuff, wherein tobacco processed into a coarse, moist powder is placed between the cheek and gum. A number of carcinogens are absorbed through the oral tissue. Dipping snuff is highly addictive and exposes the body to a level of nicotine equal to that in cigarettes.

In 1986, the U.S. surgeon general concluded that the use of smokeless tobacco "can cause cancer and a number of non-cancerous oral conditions and can lead to nicotine addiction and dependence."

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. output of moist snuff has risen 83 percent, from 30 million pounds in 1981 to 57 million pounds in 1996.

The use of smokeless tobacco is increasing most rapidly among male adolescents and young male adults. Recent surveys indicate that about one in five male high school students uses smokeless tobacco.

Cigars.

The trend of cigar smoking has leapt forward in popularity in recent years.

According to the Cigar Association of America, 4.4 billion cigars were sold in 1996, which marks an increase of 45 percent since 1993.

Cigars have taken on an air of sophistication due to advertising campaigns, cigar bars and cigar nights at invitation-only dinners.

Because cigar smoke is rarely inhaled, many cigar smokers have a false sense of security that cigar smoking is safe. Congress did not explicitly include cigars in the 1984 law requiring health warnings on cigarettes, so cigar packages bear no warning from the U.S. surgeon general.

However, the 1989 surgeon general's report stated that most of the same carcinogens and cancer-producing chemicals found in cigarettes are found in cigars.

Studies indicate that all tobacco users are five to 10 times more likely to get cancer of the mouth or throat than their nonsmoking counterparts.[[In-content Ad]]

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