NSTEP Resources for Quitting Spit Tobacco


7 Steps To Quitting Spit Tobacco

1. Decide to Quit!

Maybe you've already done this, and if so, congratulations! Make a list of reasons why you're quitting--these will help you get through the cravings later. Here are some of the good reasons we've heard:

  • Save money (between $700 and $1,100 per year according to NIH)
  • Set a good example for the kids--don't want them to start chewing
  • Tobacco contains carcinogens & other harmful ingredients. Find out what's in spit tobacco (PDF 73kb)
  • Avoid serious health problems like oral cancer and severe tooth decay. Read about The Dangers of Smokeless Tobacco (PDF 126kB)

2. Set a Date

Set a specific quit date (write it on your calendar), that starts 1-2 weeks after you decide to quit. Even if you want to quit now, wait a few days to get yourself prepared.

3. See a Health Care Provider

Prior to your quit date, visit your health care provider for an oral exam and to inquire about nicotine replacement therapy. Nicotine replacement can help ease withdrawal symptoms, but remember: never use nicotine patches/gum with tobacco products of any kind.

4. Change Your Routine

Yes, some people can quit "cold turkey." Most people will need to cut back on how much they chew, or change some habits to see real, sustaining results.

Before your quit date: consider cutting back or switching to a lower-nicotine brand. Learn your routine & triggers: notice when you dip or what scenarios are most common (stress, social, etc.) so that you can prepare for this after your quit date.

Think about coping with the urge to use spit tobacco, and practice how you might respond to those urges.

5. Build A Support Team

Quitting tobacco is not a simple process, and it's critical that you build a support team of your friends, family, and a health care provider. Tell them your quit date. Find a team that guides you back you if you slip, and celebrates when you meet your goals.

6. Live Your Quit Day

This day will be different than every other day that you have used spit tobacco, so be prepared and approach it with determination!
How To Live Your Quit Day:

  • Avoid your triggers (that you identified in Step 4)
  • Chew non-tobacco substitutes, like sugarless gum or sunflower seeds
  • Stay busy and active all day: exercise and drinking lots of water will help take your mind off tobacco.
  • Practice mindful responses to your cravings. Remember: each urge to chew lasts only 3-5 minutes. Breathe deep: you can do this!

7. Stay Off Spit Tobacco

Be prepared: the first two weeks after quitting will be the hardest. Nicotine withdrawal symptoms decrease dramatically after the first two weeks, and after a month, you'll feel better than ever!

When It Gets Difficult:

  • Remember your own reasons for quitting
  • Join a community of others in your situation (such as QuitSmokeless.org or KillTheCan.org)
  • Consult with your health care provider
  • Let your team support you!