Why Should I Quit Using Smokeless Tobacco?

There are many reasons to stick it out through withdrawal and quit using smokeless tobacco for good. Health reasons are the obvious ones. But consider the following as well.

  • Social acceptance... Chewing and dipping carry a heavy social price, especially when dating. Bad breath, gum disease, and stained teeth are very unappealing. The spitting you have to do with most smokeless tobacco is not pretty, either.
  • Cost... Multiply the cost per year by 10 (for the next 10 years) and ask yourself what you would rather do with that much money. Do you really want to continue wasting your money with nothing to show for it except possible health problems?
  • Setting an example... If you have children in your life, you should want to set a good example for them. When asked, nearly all smokeless tobacco users say they don't want their children to chew or dip. You can become a good role model for them if you quit now.

Why is it so hard to quit?

  • Nicotine is a drug found naturally in tobacco. It is as addictive as heroin or cocaine. Over time, a person becomes physically and emotionally addicted to (dependent on) nicotine. Studies have shown that tobacco users must deal with both the physical and psychological (mental) dependence to quit and stay quit.
  • Where nicotine goes and how long it stays: Nicotine enters the bloodstream from the mouth and is carried throughout the body. It affects many parts of the body, including your heart and blood vessels, your hormones, the way your body uses food (your metabolism), and your brain. During pregnancy, nicotine freely crosses the placenta and has been found in amniotic fluid and the umbilical cord blood of newborn infants.
  • Different factors affect how quickly the body gets rid of nicotine and its by-products. Regular oral tobacco users will still have nicotine or its by-products, such as cotinine, in their bodies for about 3 or 4 days after stopping.
  • Smokeless tobacco delivers a high dose of nicotine. An average dose from snuff is 3.6 milligrams (mg) and from chewing tobacco is 4.5 mg – compared with 1 to 2 mg from one cigarette. Despite this difference, blood levels of nicotine throughout the day are much the same among smokers and those who use smokeless tobacco.