CHICAGO, Aug. 20, 2012 — The National Spit Tobacco Education Program (NSTEP®) announced the winner of its annual slogan contest today, and encouraged young baseball and softball players to talk to their coaches and parents about tobacco addiction and the health risks of using tobacco products, including spit and smokeless tobacco.
This year’s slogan contest winner is Stone Huffman, an 11-year-old Little League Baseball player with the Mechanicsburg, Pa., Little League, whose submission, “Let's play ball, you make the call … don't chew tobacco” sends a clear message that tobacco has no place in the ballpark.
"We were thrilled when we found out Stone won," said his mother, Tiffany Huffman, who works as a dental hygienist and encouraged her son to enter the contest. "He was shocked when we told him and now that it's sunk in he's so excited. I'm always pushing the kids to take care of their teeth, and this contest allowed me to talk to them about avoiding tobacco use too.” Stone will receive a monetary award, a trip to the event with his family, and an on-field award ceremony.
According to the 2009 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance, about nine percent of high school students used smokeless tobacco in the past 30 days. The 2009 Monitoring the Future study from the University of Michigan found that 80 percent of 10th graders disapprove of people using spit tobacco regularly.
Oral Health America’s NSTEP® works with Little League International to educate families about the risks of spit tobacco use, including oral cancer, gum disease, tooth decay, and nicotine addiction. During the 10-Day Little League Baseball World Series, the winning slogan reaches tens of thousands of young baseball and softball players and their families, bringing more attention to this dangerous habit.
Oral Health America is connecting communities with resources to increase access to care, education and advocacy for all Americans, especially those most vulnerable. To find out more, visit www.oralhealthamerica.org.