SALINA, Ks. – The World Health Organization has designated today as "World No Tobacco Day." It's a day to highlight that tobacco is responsible for killing one in every ten adults worldwide. But as health officials are trying to discourage tobacco use, Kansas Public Radio's Bryan Thompson reports that tobacco companies are test marketing a new form of their product in Kansas.
State health officials says Kansas is one of only three states where the new tobacco sticks are being marketed. They're available in convenience stores across Kansas, according to Ginger Park of the Kansas Tobacco Use Prevention Program.
"It's wood that has been dipped in really finely ground tobacco," says Park. "But these sticks look just like a toothpick that have been dipped in chocolate."
Park says the user simply puts the coated end in his mouth, much like spit tobacco, and she's concerned about kids using the sticks.
"It's sweet, it looks kind of like candy, and it tastes like candy," Park says. "And they come in very small packages. So someone carrying one in their pocket, you wouldn't even notice they had it in their pocket at all."
Park says once it's in someone's mouth, it looks just like a regular toothpick. The difference is that it contains the same carcinogens associated with oral cancer in spit tobacco users.