Health Dept: Tobacco alternatives obstacles to quit smoking - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Health Dept: Tobacco alternatives obstacles to quit smoking

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LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) - Disease, even premature death from tobacco use, is preventable, according to the American Cancer Society.

Thursday marked the 37th annual Great American Smokeout.

The American Cancer Society uses the third Thursday of November as a benchmark for people to quit using cigarettes and any kind of tobacco. Or, plan a day to quit.

According to the La Crosse County Health Department, there are several ways to use tobacco without lighting up, which makes it harder to kick a tobacco habit, said Paula Silha, health educator at the La Crosse County Health Department.

Tobacco alternatives are not new, but one difference over the years in the packaging.

Camel's Snus, for example, is a form of smokeless tobacco.

The container, which looks like a typical mint canister, reads, "Not a safe alternative to cigarettes."

Inside, there are small bags with shredded tobacco and nicotine that a person can pop into his or her mouth and suck on.

Silha said these tobacco/nicotine alternatives are taxed less than cigarettes and you can use them relatively discretely.

"As states are going smoke-free, the tobacco industry is going, 'Hey, we're gonna see less people buying cigarettes, but they're still gonna want to maybe have their nicotine. Let's design other ways to get kids hooked and let's design other ways to design nicotine products,'" Silha said.

The Health Department wants everyone to know it's never too late to quit smoking.

Silha said it takes an average person 7 to 10 tries to fully kick a tobacco habit.

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