Magazine article Drug Topics

Alabama R.Ph.S Wage War on Tobacco, Snuff

Magazine article Drug Topics

Alabama R.Ph.S Wage War on Tobacco, Snuff

Article excerpt

Convincing teenage boys in Alabama that chewing and spitting tobacco won't help them hit more home runs or bench-press more pounds is the goal of a new educational program enlisting the aid of pharmacists and pharmacy students.

Smokeless tobacco, whether a wad of bulk chewing tobacco or finely ground snuff, is used annually by 12 million Americans, according to Robert Fay, director of consumer affairs of the Pharmacy Council on Tobacco Dependence (PCTD), a project of the Sausalito, Calif., nonprofit public health and pharmacy organization, Pharmacists Planning Service Inc. But the fastest-growing segment of users is 1 7-year-old to 19-year-old males. Influenced by images of baseball superstars and other athletes spitting tobacco, many teenage boys believe chewing or dipping the weed boosts athletic performance and is a safe alternative to smoking cigarettes. Wrong, say health-care experts. The facts are that smokeless tobacco is highly addictive, it delivers more nicotine than smoking, and the odds of developing mouth cancer are 50 times higher for long-term users.

A new program to combat the allure of smokeless tobacco will enlist students from the Auburn University College of Pharmacy. Trained in smoking cessation, they will visit schools to educate students about the perils of smokeless tobacco and assist pharmacists interested in presenting programs in their own communities. …

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