Smokeless tobacco use low, but consistent

While Cigarette Use Declines, Smokeless Products Remain an Issue

The Florida Department of Health in Washington County, Washington County Tobacco Free Partnership and the Florida Department of Health’s Tobacco Free Florida Program are raising awareness about the dangers of smokeless tobacco – like chew and dip, during Through With Chew Week. This public awareness campaign was created to reduce the use of smokeless tobacco among young people and help combat this deadly addiction. This year’s Through With Chew Week takes place Feb. 18-24.

To raise awareness about the dangers of smokeless tobacco use, The Washington County Tobacco Free Partnership is hosting the Be Through with Chew Campaign in Washington County. The Champaign takes place on Feb. 19, 2018, at local area businesses including Hungry Howie’s, The Westerner, Javier’s, Talk O’ The Town and Sapp Jewelry. Look for information on quitting smokeless tobacco or visit to jumpstart your quit day.

Although smokeless tobacco use is low, the rate has fluctuated and disproportionately affects certain areas:

  • In 2012, the rate of adult smokeless tobacco use was 3.2 percent. In 2016, the rate was at 3.0 percent. This decrease is minimal compared to the rate at which cigarette use has dropped (17.7 percent to 15.5 percent).
  • Rural communities in particular have experienced challenges in battling smokeless tobacco use. Individuals living in these areas are more likely to use tobacco – particularly smokeless tobacco.

While Smokeless Tobacco rates in Washington County are still higher than the state average we are making progress locally. In 2016 locally only 6.2% of 11-17 year old students (combination middle and high) reported using smokeless tobacco in the last 30 days down from 9.1% in 2014.

“While we are proud that youth smokeless use is at an all-time low, the number of adult Floridians using smokeless tobacco is still an issue,” said Dr. Kellie O’Dare, Tobacco Free Florida Bureau Chief. “We want to remind smokeless tobacco users that our cessation services are for everyone – not just smokers.”

At least 28 cancer-causing chemicals have been identified in smokeless tobacco. Smokeless tobacco users have an 80 percent higher risk of oral cancer and a 60 percent higher risk of esophageal cancer and pancreatic cancer compared to non-users.

There is no scientific or medical evidence that proves smokeless tobacco use is an effective method to help people quit smoking. Floridians who want to quit any form of tobacco have access to the state’s free and proven-effective resources. For more information, please visit