March 12, 2013

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

Smokeless Tobacco Is Not Harmless

KDHE's Quitline Helps People Quit Using All Forms of Tobacco

Topeka – Smokeless tobacco is a known cause of oral cancer, and it is associated with recession of the gums, gum disease and tooth decay. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) administers the Kansas Tobacco Quitline and encourages Kansans to use this free service if they are ready to create a plan to quit using tobacco. 

“Smokeless tobacco is harmful to health,” said Robert Moser, M.D., KDHE Secretary and State Health Officer. “The National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, the U.S. Surgeon General and the U.S. Public Health Service have all concluded that smokeless tobacco products as sold in the United States are addictive and cause serious disease, including cancer. These health dangers are especially troubling when we consider the number of young men in our state using smokeless tobacco.”

Recent surveys have found that about one in 10 Kansas male high school students and adults currently use smokeless tobacco. The 2011 Kansas Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and the 2011-2012 Kansas Youth Tobacco Survey show the prevalence of smokeless tobacco use is much higher among males than females. 

About 8,200 (11.1 percent) Kansas high school males currently use smokeless tobacco. Of the Kansas high school males who ever tried smokeless tobacco, about 6 percent first tried smokeless tobacco before age 11.

“We would like to see decreases in smokeless tobacco initiation especially among youth, and we want to help those who are currently using smokeless tobacco quit,” said Moser. “If you are using tobacco, quitting is one of the best things you can do for your health. Quitting isn’t easy, but working with a Quit Coach at the free Kansas Tobacco Quitline can help you achieve that goal.”

The Kansas Tobacco Quitline is ready to help tobacco users quit online at or by phone 1-800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669). The Quitline is a service provided at no cost to Kansas residents. Enrollment is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week (except on major holidays) online or by phone. A Quit Coach™ works with participants during emails, live chats or one-on-one phone calls to prepare for a quit date and create a plan to fight cravings and face other challenges. Follow-up emails, live chats or phone calls are arranged around participants’ schedules. Studies have found that using a tobacco Quitline can more than double a person’s chances of successfully quitting tobacco.   

KDHE’s Tobacco Use Prevention Program manages the Kansas Tobacco Quitline and provides resources and technical assistance to community coalitions for development, enhancement and evaluation of state and local tobacco prevention initiatives. For additional information on the Kansas Tobacco Use Prevention Program visit