As many as 20 percent of high school boys and two percent of high school girls continue to use smokeless tobacco, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Despite public education campaigns sponsored by medical societies, organized baseball, and individuals, 12 to 14 million American users, one third are under age 21, and more than half of those developed the habit before they were 13. Peer pressure is just one of the reasons for starting the habit. Serious users often graduate from brands that deliver less nicotine to stronger ones. With each use, you need a little more of the drug to get the same feeling. There has been some progress. The organizer of Americas fastest growing sport, National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) has dropped its long-time affiliation with Winston tobacco. NASCAR president Mike Helton says a total tobacco ban is an issue thats on our radar for next year. And there have been setbacks in the fight against smoking tobacco. New marketing campaigns that feature flavored smokeless products have won over new young users. Journalistic coverage of Dr. Brad Rodu and his support of smokeless tobacco as a substitute for cigarettes has diluted the Academys No Smokeless Tobacco Use message that has been an official campaign for this Academy since 1989. In a November 10, 2005 study; New Cigarette Brands with Flavors That Appeal to Youth: Tobacco Marketing Strategies; Health Affairs, November/December 2005, Volume 24, number 6, funded by the American Legacy Foundation and the National Cancer Institute noted that candy flavors were also added to smokeless tobacco products, cigars and cigarette rolling papers. Gregory Connolly, senior author of the study and a professor of the practice of public health at the Harvard School of Pubic Health noted, Tobacco companies are using candy-like flavors and high tech delivery devices to turn a blowtorch into a flavored popsicle, misleading millions of youngsters to try a deadly product. Although the study focuses primarily on cigarettes, it noted that the addiction to smokeless tobacco or chew is as strong if not stronger than to cigarettes. Additional research has shown that there continues to be substantial evidence that smokeless tobacco is deadly. A December 18, 2003 study by Patricia Richter, Ph.D and Francis Spierto, Ph.D, two CDC researchers released by the Center for the Advancement of Health reported that the most popular brands of smokeless tobacco contain the highest amounts of nicotine that can be readily absorbed by the body. According to Richter, Consumers need to know that smokeless tobacco products, including loose-leaf and moist snuff, are not safe alternatives to smoking, Richter says. The amount of nicotine absorbed per dose from using smokeless tobacco is greater than the amount of nicotine absorbed from smoking one cigarette.
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