FDA campaign takes aim at chewing tobacco use by rural teens

FILE - Farm workers make their way across a field shrouded in fog as they hoe weeds from a burley tobacco crop near Warsaw, Ky., early in this Thursday, July 10, 2008 file photo. You may have to be at least 18 to buy cigarettes in the U.S., but children as young as 7 are working long hours in fields harvesting nicotine- and pesticide-laced tobacco leaves under sometimes hazardous and sweltering conditions, according to a report released Wednesday May 14, 2014 by Human Rights Watch. (AP Photo/Ed Reinke, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Government health regulators will team up with minor league baseball teams as part of a new campaign to discourage rural teenagers from using chewing tobacco.

The Food and Drug Administration says its latest effort targets white, rural males who are more likely to use dip, chew and other smokeless tobacco products. More than 31 percent of males in this group, or roughly 629,000 teens, are at-risk for using chewing tobacco, according to the agency.

Last year the FDA launched a $128-million campaign using hip-hop music and culture to try and educate African American and other urban minority youth groups about smoking risks.

The agency says the new campaign is its first targeting the negative effects of chewing tobacco, including gum disease and multiple forms of cancer.

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