A survey from the Institute of Drug Abuse shows that in a recent year, more than 13 percent of high school boys actively used smokeless tobacco products. Among high school seniors who used dip or chew, 75 percent said they started by the 9th grade. That's why Rick Bender is doing his part to change the mindset of young people who think chewing tobacco is safer than smoking cigarettes. He tells students he used to dip...until he lost a third of his face to oral cancer.
"I'm basically trying to give young people information I ultimately never had when I was growing up. I had cancer from chewing tobacco when I was 26. I started when I was around 12, and then it was billed as you know the safe alternative to smoking."
It's not easy to quit chewing or dipping because the addiction is there just like it is for cigarettes. The American Cancer Society provides a free program called "Quit for Life." It offers free personalized coaching sessions in English or in Spanish, and other support on the web. The number to call is 866-784-8454, or go to http://www.cancer.org/healthy/stayawayfromtobacco/quit-for-life.
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