Giving up tobacco is one of the best things you can do when we’re talking about benefiting our health, but the fact is – it’s not that easy.
When you see commercials or hear about people that are trying to quit smoking, there seems to be a lot of aides out there for them to use and a lot of assisting groups – but is this the same when it comes to chewing tobacco?
This guide will look at some tips on chewing tobacco, how you can try and quit chewing tobacco and why this will benefit you overall.
What Is Chewing Tobacco?
If you’re researching how to quit chewing tobacco, you might be looking for advice for a friend, spouse or family member and might not be familiar with what chewing tobacco actually is.
So, it’s important that we carefully examine that first. Chewing tobacco falls under the category of smokeless tobacco along with snuff. Chewing tobacco has been used for centuries, ever since the indigenous people of America.
It saw a huge rise of popularity in the 19th century, particularly in the South.This is likely due to the number of tobacco growing fields in the area because the climate allowed for it.
In fact, the habit grew so popular that a special type of bucket, known as a spittoon was invented and placed in people’s houses, saloons and other stores for people to use.
It also saw another big rise in the 1970s, particularly with baseball players. They believed chewing tobacco was a healthier alternative to smoking tobacco. But was there any truth to that?
The Dangers Of Chewing Tobacco
As with any consumption of tobacco, there are always dangers associated with it. There is still a high chance of cancer, facial disfigurement, bleeding gums, bad breath, high heart rate and an increase of the chances of strokes, heart disease and heart attacks.
While the most likely problem to the consumer is going to be oral related, there is also the likelihood that the user of chewing tobacco can develop stomach problems and bladder issues as the chemicals involved can travel in their saliva.
So, although the likelihood of things like lung damage is lowered – it does not mean that chewing tobacco is safe or safer than smoking tobacco. They are equally dangerous.
With any product that contains nicotine, perhaps the worst effect it has on the person is the addiction to the habit. This means that the consumer of any form of nicotine will require more of the product to feel the same buzz that they did before.
Eventually, their body and mind requires the nicotine to continue functioning as normal – and this is when withdrawal from nicotine can cause symptoms of sickness or alike for a short time.
How To Quit Chewing Tobacco
When you want to try and quit any nicotine product, the first step is being certain that you want to quit and being ready and prepared to fully commit to a long process that gets you to achieve success.Here are some tips for you to think about when you are ready to start quitting chewing tobacco.
A proper planning process will undoubtedly help you in the long run. As with most commitments in life, preparation is the key to success.
First, you’ll want to choose a start date that you’re going to stop. Make sure you’re picking the right day that suits you and doesn’t conflate with a particularly stressful time in your life.
It’s a good idea to start on either a monday or at the start of a new month or a new year – starting like this is a great way to have a fresh view of things and allows you to track your progress much better.
If you live alone, you should get rid of any products that are linked with chewing tobacco including any spittoons, ashtrays (if you use those instead), packs of chewing tobacco that remain (if applicable) and any smoking things like posters.
You want to distance yourself from tobacco, so avoiding anything that can potentially trigger you to want to reach for tobacco is important.
If you live with a spouse or friend that smokes or chews tobacco, ask them to avoid you when they are going to use tobacco, or better yet – ask if they will quit alongside you which will strengthen both of your chances.
It’s important that you clean your home thoroughly after you have removed tobacco from your home, as you do not want the smell or taste of tobacco to trigger any cravings that might occur.
You should consider getting a journal or diary that will track your progress over time. Seeing how far you’ve come will hopefully give you the drive to continue, as you would not want to ruin weeks, months and potentially years of being clean.
Filling Your Time And Your Mind
One reason why people chew tobacco more than some others is because of boredom or to pass the time. One way to counteract this is to get a fulfilling hobby or something to instantly be able to go to when you feel a craving or know you have too much time on your hands.
Consider starting a project such as a jigsaw puzzle or building something. Perhaps at home, create or purchase a large book of crossword puzzles or a quiz book that tests your mind and makes you think.
When you’re focusing on something else, your craving should eventually pass.
Some people choose to download apps on their smartphones to allow them instant access to a distraction, including games and puzzles. Another idea is to use your journal and note down times when you get bored or feel a craving.
The important thing is to fill your time and craving with something that is good for you. Unfortunately, some people fill the void with other toxic or bad things like alcohol or junk food. You don’t want to go down that route.
Getting The Right Support
You can get in contact with your doctor or other professional for the right support. There are hotlines and groups of people that can help you every step of the way.
Starting with family and friends is a good initiation, but sometimes it’s not possible – so always try and get in contact with support groups. You may be able to find some online support groups or through apps on your smartphone’s app store.
Your doctor will be able to help if you are struggling to quit chewing tobacco. They might be able to prescribe certain medications that can help with symptoms of withdrawal, or can put you in touch with a therapist that can help you train your mind to deal with cravings.
Chewing Tobacco Replacements
Some people feel they have the addiction to the action of chewing tobacco, much in the same way that many smokers have an urge to light a cigarette/cigar, hold something in their mouth or roll tobacco up.
Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) can involve things like patches, but it can also include a kind of nicotine gum that some people can use like they would with chewing tobacco.
Understand Your Feelings
Recognizing if you’re feeling withdrawal from going cold turkey or if you’re feeling stressed, sick etc. is important. Try and use your journal to note down times and days when these feelings occur and speak with your doctor about your findings, as they may be able to help with this.
The Bottom Line
Quitting chewing tobacco is the right thing to do when you want to benefit your health, so understanding how and why cravings occur and what you can do about them is crucial.
Good luck with your journey of quitting chewing tobacco!