News and Events

Smokeless Tobacco Use Remains High in Okeechobee County
QuitDoc Foundation and Tobacco Free Florida are raising awareness during “Through with Chew Week”
February 16, 2016

Okeechobee, Fla. – QuitDoc Foundation and the Florida Department of Health’s Bureau of Tobacco Free Florida are raising awareness about the dangers of smokeless tobacco, like chew and dip, during “Through With Chew Week.” This public awareness campaign was created to reduce the use of smokeless tobacco among young people and help combat this deadly addiction. “Through With Chew Week” took place Feb. 14-20.

Although youth cigarette smoking rates in Florida are at an all-time low, 8.8 percent of high school students in Okeechobee County reported current use of smokeless tobacco products in 2014, according to the Florida Youth Tobacco Survey, which is higher than the state average of 5.4%

To raise awareness about the dangers of smokeless tobacco use QuitDoc Foundation, the Tobacco Free Partnership of Okeechobee County and Okeechobee High School SWAT (Students Working Against Tobacco) Club President, Jasmine Moyett presented to the City Council to ask them to adopt a Through With Chew Week Proclamation.  Ms. Moyett educated the Mayor and Council with local statistics about youth using smokeless tobacco in Okeechobee County.  She also stated that bringing awareness to smokeless tobacco is imperative because products like chew and dip can contain more nicotine than traditional cigarettes, and can lead to a lifetime of addiction.  On Feb. 16, 2016, at 6 p.m. the Okeechobee City Council unanimously approved the proclamation.  Ms. Moyett thanked the Mayor, Council and City Administrator for their ongoing support of the SWAT Club and assured them that her Club would continue to advocate against tobacco use.

Pictured from L-R: Jasmine Moyett Okeechobee High School SWAT Club President, Courtney Moyett Community Health Advocate for QuitDoc Foundation and the Tobacco Free Partnership of Okeechobee, and City of Okeechobee Mayor James Kirk.

At least 28 cancer-causing chemicals have been identified in smokeless tobacco. Smokeless tobacco users have an 80 percent higher risk of oral cancer and a 60 percent higher risk of esophageal cancer and pancreatic cancer compared to non-users.


Currently, there is no scientific or medical evidence that proves smokeless tobacco use is an effective method to help people quit smoking. Floridians who want to quit any form of tobacco have access to free and proven-effective resources.

For more information, please visit

About Tobacco Free Florida

The department’s Tobacco Free Florida campaign is a statewide cessation and prevention campaign funded by Florida’s tobacco settlement fund. Tobacco users interested in quitting are encouraged to use one of the state’s three ways to quit. Since 2007, more than 126,140 Floridians have successfully quit, using one of these free services. To learn more about Tobacco Free Florida and the state’s free quit resources, visit or follow the campaign on Facebook at or on Twitter at

The department works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts. Follow us on Twitter at @HealthyFla and on Facebook.  For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit


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