Hall of Fame Broadcaster Joe Garagiola Will Deliver Keynote Address at Dental Hygienists' Annual Meeting

Apr 26, 2001, 01:00 ET from American Dental Hygienists' Association

    CHICAGO, April 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Joe Garagiola, national chairman of the
 National Spit Tobacco Education Program (NSTEP) and former baseball player and
 Hall of Fame broadcaster, will deliver the keynote address to dental
 hygienists attending the 78th Annual Session of the American Dental
 Hygienists' Association on Saturday, June 23, 2001, at the Renaissance
 Nashville Hotel.
     Garagiola dedicates countless hours to NSTEP, a public education anti-spit
 tobacco initiative dedicated to promoting the importance of maintaining good
 oral health and educating youth, parents and coaches about oral cancer
 prevention and the dangers of spit tobacco use.
     "We are delighted to have Joe Garagiola as our keynote speaker this year,"
 says ADHA President Karla J. Girts, RDH.  "Dental hygienists are on the
 frontline of tobacco cessation because patients often schedule oral care
 visits more frequently than medical appointments.  We can use this time to
 educate our patients about the dangerous effects of using spit tobacco,
 commonly known as smokeless tobacco, snuff, or chew."
     Garagiola says his awareness of the dangers of smokeless tobacco began
 when several player friends learned the hard way: They had to face mouth and
 throat cancer.
     From casual conversations with players, Garagiola's crusade has increased
 in depth and scope. Through the work of seven community coordinators, NSTEP
 has developed grassroots coalitions of teachers, coaches, dentists, and an
 array of volunteer groups who work together to integrate spit tobacco
 education and cessation into their existing tobacco control agendas.
     Each year, anywhere from 10 to 16 million Americans put their health at
 risk by using smokeless tobacco products. Annual sales of these products now
 exceed $1 billion, or more than triple that in 1972.  The most dramatic
 increases have been seen with "snuff," which is sold in small round tins and
 has become extremely popular among youngsters.
     The goal of NSTEP is to prevent children from starting to use smokeless
 tobacco and to let smokeless tobacco users know that they cannot achieve total
 healthy without good oral health.
     ADHA is the largest national organization representing the professional
 interests of the more than 100,000 licensed dental hygienists across the
 country.  Dental hygienists are preventive oral health professionals, licensed
 in dental hygiene, who provide educational, clinical and therapeutic services
 that support total health through the promotion of optimal oral health.
     To get additional information about annual session 2001, as well as a
 wealth of other oral health information and a chance to receive a free
 toothbrush, visit www.adha.org .
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SOURCE American Dental Hygienists' Association