Sports fans attending the Little League Baseball World Series in Williamsport, Aug. 18-27, will also be part of the commonwealth's latest efforts to educate the public about the dangers of tobacco products, especially chewing tobacco.

"Many people are not aware of the dangers of chewing tobacco," said state Health Secretary Dr. Calvin B. Johnson. "There is a common misconception that because there is no smoke, it is safer than cigarettes. The reality is that holding an average-sized dip or chew in your mouth for 30 minutes gives you as much nicotine as smoking four cigarettes.

"We are determined to educate people about this reality: there are no such things as safe tobacco products -- they all can lead to devastating and potentially fatal health outcomes."

The Department of Health is also using this opportunity to launch a new Web site on Aug. 18, WhereIsPete, which will tease an upcoming anti-chewing tobacco advertising campaign that is set to air in mid-September.

These latest anti-tobacco activities are a joint effort between the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Oral Health America's National Spit Tobacco Education Program (NSTEP), and will provide educational materials to people about the dangers of chewing tobacco at the games and during other events surrounding the Little League World Series, which is expected to attract nearly 200,000 spectators during the week.

"We are pleased that the Pennsylvania Department of Health and its regional partners are helping to educate Pennsylvanians on the deadly risks associated with using tobacco products," Robert J. Klaus, president and CEO of Oral Health America, said. "The power of educating people so they do not start using these addictive products and the availability of the 1-800-QUIT-NOW line is an effective resource for anyone who wants to quit using tobacco products."

The "QUIT-NOW" hotline also provides free literature and educational materials that can be ordered by youth organization leaders, teachers, and coaches.

The West Branch Drug and Alcohol Abuse Commission and members from the Susquehanna Valley Tobacco Coalition will also be partnering with the Pennsylvania Department of Health and NSTEP to carry the messaging to attendees.

In addition, the Susquehanna Valley Tobacco Coalition will participate in the Williamsport Chamber of Commerce's 2nd Annual Grand Slam Parade on Aug. 17 and will distribute anti-tobacco materials and WhereIsPete promotional items to spectators along the parade route.

Outreach at the Little League Baseball World Series is just one of the many components of Pennsylvania's ongoing campaign to encourage individuals to quit -- or never start -- using tobacco products, and to curb the retail sale of tobacco to minors. For more information on how to quit smoking or stop using other tobacco products, call Pennsylvania's Free Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669), or visit state.pa.us, keyword: Health.

Pennsylvania Department of Health
state.pa.us

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