While the world of rodeo has been the realm of sponsorship by the tobacco industry for decades, The Oral Cancer Foundation today takes a stand and introduces their new spokesperson, Cody Kiser; a rodeo cowboy who will be debuting his partnership with the foundation at the upcoming Snake River Stampede Rodeo in Nampa, ID.
As a spokesperson for the foundation, Cody hopes to serve as a positive role model for children and teens that look up to cowboys as their heroes in the rodeo world. Research shows that as many as 15% of high school boys use smokeless tobacco in the United States. With the nicotine content in a can of dip equaling approximately that of 80 cigarettes, this addiction can be one of the hardest to break, which is why The Oral Cancer Foundation hopes to educate parents and youth about the dangers before they even get started.
"My dad was a cowboy, so I know what it's like looking up to cowboys as heroes for my whole life. Health and fitness have always been incredibly important to my family. My dad was a positive role model in my life growing up in that regard, and the idea of using spit tobacco never appealed to me," shares Cody. "Right now, I'm pursuing rodeo as a passion of mine, and if at the same time I can do some good in the world and set the right example for young kids who might look up to me, then I'm honored and eager to do so."
"Every kid has a hero they look up to, and whether it's a cowboy, baseball player, or other strong figure in their lives; even heroes can still have some aspect of their life that is less than a perfect example to follow," explains Brian Hill, founder and executive director of the Oral Cancer Foundation. "We are excited to partner with Cody and venture into the rodeo arena because we believe we can make a real difference there."
Brian continues, "Cody is a great partner for us. This is the first time a non-profit is really going into a world that is very much tied to the use of smokeless tobacco and proactively advocating against it. Our messaging to youth is simple; 'Be Smart. Don't start.'"
Founded in 1999, The Oral Cancer Foundation was created to promote change, through proactive means, in both the public and medical/dental professional sectors. That change includes education about the dangers of spit tobacco, one of the contributing risk factors to the disease. By stepping into the rodeo stage, OCF aims to provocatively address the very real dangers of tobacco in a world that has long been influenced and sponsored by it.
About The Oral Cancer Foundation
With our mouth we eat and drink what sustains us. With it, we communicate ideas and feelings to the world through speech or a simple smile. It allows us to taste the nuance of a fine wine, the sweetness of a freshly picked berry, or mustard covered hot dog at the ballpark. Love or passion is expressed by it when we kiss a loved one or child. When cancer affects our mouths, it does more than take away these everyday functions, it too often takes our lives. Through increased public and professional awareness, prevention through lifestyle changes, early detection initiatives, education, improved treatment modalities, and sponsorship of research, the Oral Cancer Foundation's mission is to contribute to the reduction of suffering, permanent physical damage and disfigurement, and death caused by this disease.
The foundation is an IRS registered non-profit 501(c) 3, public service charity designed for advocacy and service, created to promote change, through proactive means, in both the public and medical/dental professional sectors. At the forefront of our agenda is the firm establishment in the minds of the American public for the need to undergo an annual oral cancer screening, combined with an outreach to the dental and medical communities to provide this service as a matter of routine practice.