How to Quit Chewing Tobacco
Nicotine is one of the worst addictions to break, and also one of the most dangerous addictions to your health. Some think that smokeless tobacco use isn’t as bad as, or as addictive, as smoking. Therefore, they think it can’t be nearly as difficult to break the habit and quit chewing tobacco or using snuff. And sadly, once the reality hits, they often give up and go back to using smokeless tobacco products. The best way to quit, therefore, is with a plan. After all, failing to plan is like planning to fail!
- Make a plan. Yep, the first step of your quitting plan is to make a plan. Set realistic goal dates–I will quit next Monday. This bag of mint chew is my last. I will only use snuff at home in the evenings. After two weeks, I’ll cut my use in half, then in half again in another two weeks. Whatever you choose–cold turkey or gradual–make sure it’s something you can actually stick to
- Set up a support system. There will be times when you will tempted to the breaking point. There will come cravings that you can’t stand. You’ll wonder how you’ll make it through the next moment, let alone the entire afternoon. You’ll need someone, or a group of someones, that you can call on. You may want to look into smokeless tobacco substitutes for those first few rough weeks when you don’t know what to do with your mouth after meals or while driving. Non-tobacco chew products may help cut the cravings, and they’ll certainly help with those “habitual” times associated with a good chew.
- Find substitutes. Not just substitutes for the tobacco, but for the places and times you normally used tobacco. Go for walks instead of sitting around the lunch room. Take up gardening or woodworking instead of watching the game at the corner pub every weekend. (You can listen to it on the radio while you work.) Join a bike club and ride out in the fresh air. Healthy substitutes for the smokeless tobacco use will benefit not only your quitting process, but also your entire lifestyle.
- Celebrate your milestones. Quitting is a big deal. It’s a difficult process. And you should be proud of yourself for breaking such a destructive, unhealthy habit. Totally tobacco-free for two weeks? Great! Last chew was 6 months ago? Wonderful! Have a party, go out for dinner, buy yourself a little treat. In fact, adding milestones and accompanying rewards to your plan is a great way to help you stick with it long enough to make a success of it!