Smokeless Tobacco Use Remains High in Marion County
QuitDoc Foundation and Tobacco Free Florida are raising awareness during “Through with Chew Week”
February 3, 2016

OCALA, Fla. – QuitDoc Foundation and the Florida Department of Health’s Bureau of Tobacco Free Florida 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. “Through With Chew Week” takes place Feb. 14-20.

To raise awareness about the dangers of smokeless tobacco use, QuitDoc Foundation and the Tobacco Free Partnership of Marion County, are sponsoring the first annual Country Carnival to kick off the annual Southeastern Youth Fair (SEYF) in Marion County. The SEYF Country Carnival opens Friday, Feb. 19 @ 5PM, Sat. Feb 20 @ 2PM, Sun. Feb. 21 @2PM. The Southeastern Youth Fair is the longest running youth fair that operates without a midway in the United States and is the premier event for 4-H and FFA students in Marion County, Florida. The SEYF is a not-for-profit ALL-YOUTH Fair held in February of each year. Responsibility, marketing, communication, and record keeping are just a few of the life skills acquired by the exhibitors of the Fair. The fair provides a “hands on” approach to learning positive life skills, and including smokeless tobacco education will be an important part of this educational opportunity.  

Although youth cigarette smoking rates in Florida are at an all-time low, 5.9 percent of high school students in Marion County still reported current use of smokeless tobacco products in 2014, according to the Florida Youth Tobacco Survey. This number is likely higher in rural and agricultural areas of the county, and overall use is higher than the state average of 5.4 percent.

“Smokeless tobacco products contain harmful chemicals that are known to cause cancer,” said Shannon Hughes, Director of the Florida Department of Health’s Community Health Promotion. "Youth who use smokeless products are more likely to experiment with other types of tobacco. Studies have shown that adolescent boys who use smokeless tobacco have a higher risk of becoming cigarette 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.


Currently, 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 free and proven-effective resources.

For more information, please visit

About Tobacco Free Florida

The department’s Tobacco Free Florida campaign is a statewide cessation and prevention campaign funded by Florida’s tobacco settlement fund. Tobacco users interested in quitting are encouraged to use one of the state’s three ways to quit. Since 2007, more than 126,140 Floridians have successfully quit, using one of these free services. To learn more about Tobacco Free Florida and the state’s free quit resources, visit or follow the campaign on Facebook at or on Twitter at

The department works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts. Follow us on Twitter at @HealthyFla and on Facebook.  For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit


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