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
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
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