Source: Prospect Magazine
Author: Natalie Riggs

Smokeless/spit tobacco is one of the historic causes of deadly oral cancers, and is more addictive than other forms of tobacco use.

As a national nonprofit seeking to spread awareness of oral cancer and the dangers of starting terrible tobacco habits, the Oral Cancer Foundation has teamed up with professional barrel racer, Carly Twisselman, and bareback bronc rider, Cody Kiser, in an effort to spread the word in one of the biggest arenas of tobacco using patrons — the rodeo circuit.

While others are focused on getting users to quit, the Oral Cancer Foundation is taking a proactive stance against tobacco by reaching out and educating youth about the dangers and risks of the habit. The message is simple and non confrontational: “Be Smart. Don’t Start.” With the strong addictive powers of smokeless tobacco, we have to engage them early.

The Oral Cancer Foundation is a big believer that in order to solve problems, you have to become involved where the problem lies. The western/rodeo environment in the U.S. has had a long-term relationship with tobacco, and until 2009, the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and the rodeos that they sanctioned had a lengthy history of tobacco sponsorship money funding the sport.

While that has ended at PRCA events, tobacco use, and smokeless/spit tobaccos still thrive in the sport.

As a national nonprofit, OCF is taking a stance against tobacco with the help of both a cowboy and cowgirl who value their choice of not associating or partaking in this act; making them alternative positive role-models for the adolescent age group whose minds are so easily molded.

Carly Twisselman comes from a seventh-generation ranching family in California. Rodeo has always been a family sport for her and she feels it is important to protect that family lifestyle.

Besides her work with the foundation, Carly can be found as a TV host on the new Ride TV cable channel, in Hollywood as a stuntwoman for popular television shows such as: “Glee,” “Vegas” and the motion picture film “Crank.” OCF is very proud to have her as a spokesperson in our “Be Smart — Don’t Start” program.

Cody Kiser is your All-American cowboy. He graduated with a degree in engineering from University of Nevada, Reno. Cody has worked in Hollywood as a professional stuntman and can be seen in the recent blockbuster film “American Sniper,” starring Bradley Cooper. Cody’s desire to put forth effort to try to make a change in the world with his stance for non-tobacco use, while encouraging youth to make the decision against tobacco, is admirable. It is important for our youth to have positive role models who practice healthy habits, and OCF feels that Cody is the perfect candidate.

Both Cody and Carly will be riding this weekend at the Marysville Stampede.

Natalie Riggs is director of special projects for the Oral Cancer Foundation. For more information, visit the website:

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