Government health officials will team up with minor-league baseball in a $36 million campaign to discourage rural teenagers from using chewing tobacco.

Baseball stadiums will feature the campaign's central message this summer - "smokeless doesn't mean harmless" - through advertising and promotions with players.

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. Mitch Zeller, director of the agency's tobacco program, said many young people don't understand the health effects of smokeless tobacco.

The new campaign is the first FDA effort to focus on those risks, including gum disease, tooth loss and multiple forms of cancer. The FDA is reaching out to major-league baseball on similar collaborations, agency officials said.


- Associated Press