The CDC has proclaimed the week of February 15–21, 2015, as "Through with Chew Week" in an effort to call attention to the use of smokeless tobacco. In 2013, 5.7% of high school students in the United States used smokeless tobacco. The public awareness campaign is designed to reduce the use of smokeless tobacco among young people.
The Van Buren County Youth Leadership Council (YLC) has chosen to join the effort of the CDC to make sure that members of their community understand the dangers of smokeless tobacco. During this week they will be spreading the message with different activities in the community. Educators will be addressing youth about health risks commonly associated with this type of tobacco.
Smokeless tobacco is not a safe alternative to cigarettes, as some young people believe, and it is even more habit forming because it contains a higher concentration of nicotine than cigarettes. Smokeless tobacco can cause oral cancer, especially in the cheeks, gums, and throat. In addition, smokeless tobacco is addicting. The use of smokeless tobacco can also lead to other oral problems, such as mouth sores, gum recession, tooth decay, bad breath, and permanent discoloration of teeth.