How to Quit Using Smokeless Tobacco

Smokeless tobacco causes serious health problems and even death.  Please see below for more information on how to stop using these harmful products.

1)  Why is it important for me to quit using smokeless tobacco?

The use of any tobacco product has both immediate and long-term effects on your health and overall well-being. Smokeless tobacco stains and wears down your teeth, causes your gums to recede (peel back) and produces mouth sores. Bad breath is also a common problem. Over time, the use of smokeless tobacco can cause mouth cancer. Nicotine from smokeless tobacco also raises blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and can increase your risk of having a heart attack.

List your own reasons for wanting to quit using smokeless tobacco. In addition to the effects of smokeless tobacco on your health, you may be concerned about saving money or setting a good example for family members and friends. Write down your reasons for wanting to quit. Then keep your list in places where you can see it often.

2)  What can I do to get ready to quit using smokeless tobacco?

Set a date to quit and stick to it. Choose a date 2 to 4 weeks from today. Quitting can be hard, so develop a plan that works for you. Prepare yourself for quitting by identifying the times when you will want smokeless tobacco the most. Plan to avoid those situations or to have tobacco substitutes with you (such as sunflower seeds or chewing gum). Get rid of all your chewing tobacco or snuff before your quit date. Start cutting down now on the amount you chew or dip.

Get support from your family, friends and doctor. Even better, have a friend or family member who uses smokeless tobacco stop chewing or dipping at the same time that you do. Studies have shown that people who have the support of family and friends are more successful at quitting. Your doctor may also be able to recommend a support program that might help you quit.

Practical counseling and support programs that have been shown to help people quit tobacco are also available through your local health department and the free nationwide quitline, 1-800-QUIT-NOW.


3)  What can I use to replace smokeless tobacco?

Talk to your doctor about whether nicotine gum or another nicotine replacement product is right for you. Generally, people who use 3 or more tins or pouches a week, people who use smokeless tobacco within 30 minutes after they wake up, and people who usually swallow tobacco juice when they chew or dip benefit most from nicotine replacement.

Find an oral substitute for smokeless tobacco that you enjoy. This may be sugarless gum, hard candy, beef jerky or sunflower seeds. Don't substitute cigarette smoking for smokeless tobacco. Stop using all tobacco products.  Find activities to do when you want to chew or dip. Many people chew or dip when they are bored. Instead, take a walk or a quick jog, lift weights, take a hot shower to relax, or do any activity you enjoy that will keep your mind off smokeless tobacco.


4)  What if I slip?

If you slip, don’t give up. Slips are common for people trying to quit using tobacco. For many people it takes up to 10 tries before quitting for good. Learn from the experience by figuring out what triggers you to crave smokeless tobacco and planning ways to avoid using tobacco the next time around.

5)  Helpful Links for Quitting Smokeless Tobacco