Each year, Through With Chew Week raises awareness about the dangers of smokeless tobacco use (chew, dip and snus) and the effective tools available to quit. During this year’s Through With Chew Week, Feb. 21-27, the Sumter County Health Department encourages smokeless tobacco users to set a quit date and use Tobacco Free Florida’s free and effective resources to quit for good.

According to the Sumter Health Department, quitting smokeless tobacco is more important than ever in light of the COVID-19 pandemic: “Smokeless tobacco is harmful to health and highly addictive. The use of some types of smokeless tobacco products is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

Having heart disease increases your risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Smokeless tobacco also contains harmful chemicals that are known to cause cancer. Apart from cancer, other oral health issues from smokeless tobacco include mouth sores, gum recession, tooth decay and permanent discoloration of teeth.”

Those trying to quit tobacco can create a personalized quit plan using Tobacco Free Florida’s free Quit Your Way tools and services. The Quit Your Way program offers free tools and services like Phone Quit, Group Quit and Web Quit, in addition to individual tools like text support, a Quit Guide and helpful emails. Free nicotine replacement therapy – nicotine patches, gum or lozenges – are available to tobacco 

users who are 18 or older, if medically appropriate. For more information on quitting tobacco, call 1-877-U-CAN-NOW (1-877-822-6669) or visit https://bit.ly/3b1sOmo.

The Florida Department of Health’s Tobacco Free Florida campaign is a statewide cessation and prevention campaign funded by Florida’s tobacco settlement fund. Since the program beg an in 2007, more than 254,000 Floridians have successfully quit using one of Tobacco Free Florida’s free tools and services.