Quitting Smokeless Tobacco: Getting the Most Out of Your Quit Attempt
Are you ready to rumble? You better be, because you’re about to step into the ring with a tough opponent. But with the right mindset, attitude, and training, you can beat this bully in a round.
Quitting smokeless tobacco is a lot like quitting smoking. The greatest hurdle to overcome is the nicotine, and nicotine addiction is the same in smokeless tobacco or cigarettes. Following the 4 Steps To Quitting is your best game plan for success. Create a quit plan, deal with cravings and read the tips on the page Ready, Aim, Quit. Don’t go in alone—these are important weapons to help you quit chewing tobacco and win this battle.
Increasing Your Odds Of Success
But how can you get the most out of your attempt to quit chewing? How can you increase your odds of success?
Captain Larry N. Williams, a Public Health Emergency Officer with the U.S. Navy has seen great results when people trying to quit smokeless tobacco use nicotine gum along with the nicotine patch as part of their quit attempt. He states that the key issue of the guidelines "is the treatment of nicotine addiction, so the medications are effective for any form of tobacco used. Ad lib nicotine gum use is great for any breakthrough cravings which arise while wearing the patch."
New tobacco cessation guidelines, Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: 2008 Update, report that that the most effective way to quit smoking is through a combination of counseling and medication. For some people trying to quit, a combination of medications, such as two different nicotine replacement therapies or using a nicotine patch and Zyban®
at the same time, are more effective than using either one alone. Don’t be afraid to use medicine to help you quit chewing tobacco.
These findings can help smokeless tobacco users quit too. Nicotine gum can be especially helpful because it not only reduces your craving for nicotine, but it can also take the place of the smokeless tobacco you once held in your mouth.
Add Counseling to the One-Two Punch Combination
Individual, group, and telephone cessation counseling are great ways to keep you on the right track. Why go it alone when you can be part of a winning team? Cessation counselors are built in supporters and cheerleaders who are available to be a part of your successful quitting equation. This applies to smoking and smokeless tobacco users alike. Choose the type of counseling that fits your needs and personality, because that’s the one that will most likely work for you.
Check on the Locate Support page to find individual or group counseling near you. Even if you are stationed where no individual or group counseling is available, you can call a free quitline like 1-800-QUIT-NOW. And remember that we offer one-on-one live chat with trained cessation coaches 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.
Just for Smokeless Tobacco Quitters
Some urges are unique to chewing tobacco, such as having something in your mouth to take the place of that wad or packet of tobacco. Some quitters find that sugar-free hard candies or gum, cinnamon sticks, mints, beef jerky, or sunflower seeds are great substitutes. Make sure to bring your substitute along wherever you go. Don’t let that urge to chew strike without being ready to defend yourself.
Smokeless tobacco quitters can also benefit from using the "Reduction Method." Instead of using the usual amount of tobacco, dip, or chew, use just a little bit less each time and keep it in your mouth for less time. The trick is to resist the temptation to dip more times per day. Then, either weekly or every few days, reduce the amount a little bit more. Listen to the Spitcast Quitting Strategies—The Reduction Method for more details and strategies.
Make Everyone Proud
Remember: you can win the fight against nicotine addiction. It is the fiercest (and deadliest) battle that many will ever fight. There may not be a medal to pin on your uniform, but you will end up with a healthier and stronger heart!