RENO, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) -- One local cowboy is determined to change the face of rodeo -- not with charm and good looks -- but with the promise he has made to stay tobacco-free. Cody Kiser, 23, has been known amongst his rodeo comrades as a non-chewer, but in recent months he's decided to take his personal choices on step further.
Kiser now serves as a role model to young adults everywhere. He's joined the efforts of the Oral Cancer Foundation and now wears "Be smart, don't start," on his protective vest as he competes.
"It's not just rodeo, it's kids of all sports, and we just want to make sure they know they don't have to chew tobacco in order to be cool or be tough," Kiser says.
According to the OCF, more than 43,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or throat cancer this year and is expected to cause more than 8,000 deaths. The addictive nature of chewing tobacco alone is alarming.
Kiser tells News 4 one can of chew has the equivalent nicotine of 40 cigarettes. According to OCF, a "30-minute chew" is the equivalent of smoking three cigarettes. Thus, shedding some light on the addictive nature of smokeless tobacco.
"We want to target the kids who are just getting into it," Kiser says.
In spreading awareness Kiser says the goal is to teach youth about just how lethal the drug is.
For more information on the Oral Cancer Foundation click here.