World No-Tobacco Day 1998 to be held May 31

by Sharon H. Crossley, R.D.H., M.P.H., Academic Community Coordinator, College of Dental Medicine

Sunday, May 31, is World No-Tobacco Day.

The College of Dental Medicine got a jump start on the celebration this past Sunday at the RiverDogs stadium.

Collaborating with the Smoke-Free Lowcountry Coalition (SFLC), students and staff collected pledges to stop or not start using Spit Tobacco. Free information and giveaways were available at the SFLC booth, and public service announcements were made throughout the game.

Daily, there are new studies which present increasing evidence of the risks of tobacco use; yet, at the same time, each day thousands of young people around the world are trying their first cigarette or first plug of tobacco, often precipitating a lifetime of addiction and an untimely death. There are many contributing factors to these young people's beginning the tobacco habit. Frequently, sports figures model the use of spit tobacco. This was not the case at Joe Riley Park, where Sunday's crowd received signed posters from RiverDogs players supporting a smoke-free lifestyle.

The College of Dental Medicine supports the "Joe" in its policy regarding the absence of tobacco advertising and prohibiting smoking in the seating areas. The college also recognizes the opportunity for a dentist to educate the community about the dangers of tobacco. Edward Herschaft, DDS, Division of Oral Pathology, College of Dental Medicine said, "The dental community across the country has become proactive in advising the public about the dangers and risks of the use of all forms of tobacco." He further avers that lung cancer, oral cancer and periodontal disease are all associated with tobacco use, and dentists have the responsibility to not only diagnose and treat these diseases, but to educate the public concerning the health risks of tobacco use.

Toward that end the College of Dental Medicine is insuring that future dentists are trained according to this model of cancer education, diagnosis and treatment. Also with that purpose in mind, the students and staff of the college willingly participated in Sunday's event at the stadium.

For more information on upcoming events for World No-Tobacco Day, call Sharon Crossley at 792-6614.

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