Sunnyside students learn a lesson in the dangers of smokeless tobacco - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Sunnyside students learn a lesson in the dangers of smokeless tobacco

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We all know the serious side effects of smoking tobacco.  But more often than not we overlook the dangers of chewing tobacco.

Rick Bender may look startling at first but his message is a powerful one.
Bender, a former baseball player in the California Angels organization travles the country talking about the dangers of snuff.

At Sierra Vista middle school in Sunnyside, students watched in dismay as Bender told them his chilling story about the horrors of spit tobacco.

"Smokless sounds nice ... Neat and pretty ... No smoke ... No fire.
You don't smokeless it you put it in your mouth and spit."

Bender started using tobacco when he was a teenager.
By the time he was 27 seven years old his jaw was gone.
In 1989, doctors gave him two years to live and now he's using his story to educate students against tobacco use.

If you're chewing spit tobacco and notice an unusual white mark on your gums Bender suggests that you use his ten day rule.  If the mark does not go away in ten days then you should contact your doctor immediately.

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