OKLAHOMA CITY – Through With Chew Week, Feb. 21-27, focuses on offering those Oklahomans who use smokeless tobacco the opportunity to quit, with free help from the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline, a program of Tobacco Endowment Settlement Trust.

“Smokeless isn’t harmless despite what many people may think. Through With Chew Week is an ideal time for Oklahomans to learn about the dangers of smokeless tobacco and to examine the impact tobacco addiction has on their lives,” said Julie Bisbee, TSET executive director. “The Helpline is here for Oklahomans who are trying to quit using smokeless tobacco or those who want to support their loved ones through the quitting process.”

Smokeless tobacco is even more habit forming than cigarettes because it contains up to four times as much addictive nicotine than found in cigarettes. The Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline encourages smokeless tobacco users to understand the facts about smokeless tobacco and think about quitting during Through With Chew Week. The Helpline also offers at least a two-week supply of nicotine patches, gum or lozenges to those who register for the free service. Smokeless tobacco users often find the nicotine lozenges helpful in curbing cravings while quitting smokeless tobacco.

Smokeless tobacco contains at least 28 cancer-causing chemicals and can cause oral, pancreatic and esophageal cancer. Leathery white patches and red sores in the mouth are common and can turn into cancer.

Sugar in smokeless tobacco may cause decay in exposed tooth roots. Dip and chew can cause gums to pull away from the teeth where the tobacco is held. The gums do not grow back.

Holding an average-size dip in the mouth for 30 minutes gives one as much nicotine as smoking three cigarettes. A two-can-a-week habit results in the same nicotine consumption as a pack-a-day smoker.

The Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline provides free support to those thinking about quitting smokeless tobacco, including text and email support, phone and web coaching and a two-week supply of patches, gum or lozenges for registered participants.

“With free options and tools that can be customized and combined to provide the best fit for you, the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline is a tremendous public asset to Oklahomans wanting to quit tobacco and better engage full, healthy living,” said Jon Hart, Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline director.

Call 1-800-QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visit OKhelpline.com to explore all the free services and resources available to Oklahomans.

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