While tobacco use is the most preventable cause of death in the United
States, more than 400,000 people die prematurely each year because of tobacco
use. If you have thought about using smokeless tobacco or any other tobacco
product, think again. Any tobacco use is dangerous and unhealthy, especially
Q. How Can I Quit Using Smokeless Tobacco?
A. Just like any other tobacco product, chewing tobacco or snuff can
be hard to quit. Only 6% of tobacco users are able to stop for more than a
month. Many people try to quit over and over again. Don't despair! There are
ways to help you stop. Nicotine replacement, behavioral therapy, and
prescription medicines are proven to help tobacco users quit.
Nicotine gum, patches, inhalers, and lozenges are all different kinds of
nicotine replacement. They work by giving you nicotine without having to use
chewing tobacco or snuff. Even though they contain nicotine, they do not have
all the cancer-causing chemicals as chewing tobacco and snuff. They can also
help you quit by reducing cravings and discomfort. The nicotine patch has been
specifically shown to work. If you are under 18, you need to get your doctor's
or parent's permission to use nicotine replacements.
Behavioral therapy consists of visiting a therapist who will help you find
the best strategy to quit. He or she will help you come up with ways to get
through strong cravings and provide emotional support when you need it.
Some medicines, including bupropion SR (Zyban and Wellbutrin SR) and Varenicline
tartrate (Chantix), are formulated to
help people quit using tobacco. Patients should tell their doctor about any
history of psychiatric illness prior to starting Chantix. Chantix may cause
worsening of a current psychiatric illness even if it is currently under
control and may cause an old psychiatric illness to reoccur. Your doctor must
prescribe these medications.
Q. What Do I Say If Somebody Offers Me Some Chewing Tobacco or
A. Saying no to a friend is really hard. But if a friend offers you a
"dip," just tell them "No thanks." Even if they seem upset, they probably won't
stay upset for long. They may even respect you more. Choosing not to use
smokeless tobacco is all about YOU. It's better for your teeth, gums, and
breath; helps prevent cancer of your mouth, throat, and esophagus; and is a
very wise decision for your overall health.