Smokeless Tobacco: Kick the Habit

Your first week off smokeless tobacco: Coping with withdrawal

Withdrawal symptoms don't last long. Symptoms are strongest the first week after you quit. The worst part is over after 2 weeks. As time passes, you'll feel better than when you dipped or chewed. So be patient with you.

  • Urges to dip, cravings -- especially in the places you used to dip the most... Wait it out. Deep breathing and exercise help you feel better right away.
  • Feeling irritable, tense, restless, impatient... Walk away from the situation. Deep breathing and exercise help to blow off steam. Ask others to be patient.
  • Constipation/irregularity... Add fiber to your diet (whole grain breads and cereals, fresh fruits and vegetables).
  • Hunger and weight gain... Eat regular meals. Feeling hungry is sometimes mistaken for the desire to dip or chew.
  • Desire for sweets... Reach for low-calorie sweet snacks (like apples, sugar-free gums and candies).

Your second week: Dealing with triggers

You've made it through the hardest part - the first week. If you can stay off one week, then you can stay off two. Just use the same willpower and strategies that got you this far.

Cravings may be just as strong this week, but they will come less often and go away sooner. Be prepared for temptation

Tobacco thoughts and urges probably still bother you. They will be strongest in the places where you dipped or chewed the most. The more time you spend in these places without dipping or chewing, the weaker the urges will become. Avoid alcoholic beverages. Drinking them could bust your plan to quit. Know what events and places will be triggers for you and plan ahead for them. Write down some of your triggers. And write what you'll do instead of dip or chew. It may be as simple as reaching for gum or seeds, walking away, or thinking about how far you've come.

Tips for going the distance

CONGRATULATIONS! You've broken free of a tough addiction. If you can stay off 2 weeks, then you know you can beat this addiction. It will get easier.

  • Keep using whatever worked when you first quit. Don't expect new rituals to take the place of spit tobacco right away. It took time to get used to chewing or dipping at first, too.
  • Keep up your guard. Continue to plan ahead for situations that may tempt you.
  • What if you should slip? Don't let feelings of guilt lead you back to chewing or dipping. A slip does not mean "failure". Figure out why you slipped and how to avoid it next time. Get rid of any leftover tobacco.
  • Pick up right where you left off before the slip. If slips are frequent, or you are dipping or chewing on a regular basis, make a new quitting plan. Quitting takes practice. The spit tobacco habit can be tough to beat. Most users don't quit for good on the first try. Don't give up! Figure out what would have helped. Try a new approach next time. Talk to your physician or dentist for extra help.