For Immediate Release
August 22, 2007

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

MEDIA ADVISORY - Youth, Adults and Health Professionals Attend Summit
to Combat Spit Tobacco Use in Kansas

Kansas tobacco control advocates, oral health professionals and teens will attend the Kansas Spit Tobacco Summit, “Smokeless Does Not Mean Harmless,” from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on August 29 at the Kansas Cosmosphere, 1100 N. Plum, in Hutchinson.

At 10:45 a.m. Gruen Von Behrens will discuss how his life was dramatically changed by spit tobacco use. At 17 he had his lower jaw removed because of oral cancer caused by spit tobacco. Von Behrens is now in his 20’s and has had 30 disfiguring surgeries.

In addition to education on the health consequences of using spit tobacco, the Summit will give attendees strategies for reducing spit tobacco use in Kansas. The 2005 Kansas Youth Risk Behavior Survey shows 17.4 percent of Kansas high school males report current use of smokeless tobacco compared to the estimated national prevalence of 13.6 percent.