Updated: Thursday, 21 Feb 2013, 4:35 PM EST
Published : Thursday, 21 Feb 2013, 4:33 PM EST
NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) - Efforts to stop kids from dipping are happening around the country on Thursday for a nationwide event called the Great American Spit Out.
Health officials are encouraging teens to commit to staying tobacco-free for 24-hours.
Researchers say that picking up the habit is becoming a concern among teens. A recent Surgeon General’s report says that big tobacco companies continue to target kids by creating colorful packaging and sweeter flavors for smokeless tobacco.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse found that in 2009, 13% of high school boys were actively using smokeless tobacco products.
“It's their target market, they are the people of tomorrow, they are the ones who will keep buying cigarettes, you get addicted and you can't quit. I started before high school,” James Loughery of Palmer said.
Smokeless tobacco users may be as much as 50 times more likely than non-users to get cancer of the cheek, gums, and throat.