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The Real Cost of Smokeless Tobacco

Smokeless tobacco – products like dip, chew, and/or snus – is an integral part of life in many rural areas each day. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), about 1,000 male teenagers under the age of 18 throughout the U.S. use a smokeless tobacco product for the first time. This is approximately the same number of teenagers who use cigarettes for the first time each day. However, the use of smokeless tobacco appears to be more concentrated in rural areas. Many of the teenagers who begin using smokeless tobacco do so after seeing family members and role models use these products. The use of smokeless tobacco becomes a sort of “rite of passage” in some rural communities: young teenagers partake of smokeless tobacco to signify their passage from boyhood into manhood. Unfortunately, many of those who use smokeless tobacco are unaware of the risks associated with its use. The FDA’s “The Real Cost” campaign is designed to combat this deadly ignorance.

A Dangerous Lie to Believe

There is a perception shared by a sizeable number of smokeless tobacco users that smokeless tobacco products are safer and/or come with fewer dangers than cigarettes and smoking tobacco products. Unfortunately, this is dangerous misinformation. Smokeless tobacco use has been shown to cause or contribute to:

  • Addiction to nicotine;
  • Gum disease;
  • Tooth loss; and/or
  • Various types of cancer.

(Incidentally, many of these side effects can also develop from use of smoking tobacco products.) “The Real Cost” campaign aims to dispel the myths and mistruths that exist about smokeless tobacco use in an effort to reduce the number of teens who are thinking about using smokeless tobacco or who are current users of these products. The campaign is designed to change the way chewing tobacco and other products are seen in rural America, where the use of smokeless tobacco products is greater.

Who is Responsible for the Misinformation?

Identifying a cause for the continued existence of misinformation concerning smokeless tobacco is difficult to do. While smokeless tobacco products are required to carry certain warning labels on them, these can be small and difficult to read. Some teenagers who use these products do so without regard for any printed warnings: They see their fathers, grandfathers, or other local “heroes” using these products without any apparent ill effects and conclude that the warnings against smokeless tobacco are nothing more than hype. Finally, while there has been a concentrated effort to inform teenagers and others about the dangers of cigarettes and smoking tobacco products, there has not been an equally-concentrated effort in relation to smokeless tobacco use (that is, until the FDA’s “The Real Cost” campaign).

Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C. is a New Jersey and Pennsylvania personal injury law firm dedicated to helping residents assert their legal rights following injurious events. Our firm has been helping clients for over 40 years, and during that time we have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for our clients. Call our office at (866) 236-4230 today to discuss your case, or contact us online through our website.

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