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Smokeless Tobacco Pouches Target Young Mass. Men

By Debbie Kim, WBZ-TV
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Bags of nicoten-free 'snus' or snuff at the production line in a file photo from 2004. (credit: SVEN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)

Bags of nicoten-free ‘snus’ or snuff at the production line in a file photo from 2004. (credit: SVEN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)

CBS Boston (con't)

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BOSTON (CBS) — Despite all of the warnings about the dangers of smoking, tobacco use is still the leading cause of preventable death and illness here in Massachusetts and across the nation.

More than 8,000 Bay State residents die each year from the effects of smoking and now tobacco companies are marketing some new smokeless products that target targeting young men in particular.

These new smokeless flavored tobacco pouches called SNUS have been popping up in stores over the past year.

The companies say they contain lower levels of nicotine and are a safer alternative to cigarettes.  But experts warn they can still cause cancer and other health risks.

Dr. Greg Connolly, the Director of the Tobacco Control Research Group at the Harvard School of Public Health explains, “When all of the sudden you have all these products, especially when they target the young who are the most vulnerable to the toxic effects of nicotine and to becoming addicted and becoming a cigarette smoker for life.”

Experts also warn that these new dissolvable nicotine pellets, which look like candy, could lead to accidental nicotine poisoning if they’re ingested by young children.

Dr. Connolly says, “If you take ten of these and you have the body weight of a one-year-old you’re in the hospital.”
  
Millions of smokers will try to kick the habit as part of the Great American Smokeout on Thursday, November 18th. If you or someone you know would like to quit, the state provides a free hotline and other services to help folks kick the habit.

For more info, log onto www.makesmokinghistory.org.

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