Ditch the Dip. Throw down the can. Be through with chew. However you want to phrase it, today is the Great American Spit Out which occurs in February to bring attention to the dangers of smokeless tobacco, and asks you to put down the can for 24 hours. If you can give it up for 24 hours, you are on your way to putting down the can for good. While smokeless tobacco does not contain the chemicals from the smoke associated with cigarettes, it is not without risks.
Smokeless tobacco, whether it is chew, snuff, dip or snus, contains about 28 carcinogens (cancer causing agents). And like cigarettes, smokeless tobacco contains nicotine which causes your addiction to the product. When you smoke a cigarette, nicotine is inhaled along with the smoke. But with smokeless products, the tobacco is placed in the mouth along the lip and gum, cheek and gum, or against the tongue. The slow absorption allows the nicotine to stay longer in the bloodstream and at a higher concentration than smoking – 3 to 4 times higher. A two can-a-week habit of smokeless tobacco gives you as much nicotine as smoking 30 cigarette a day. And all that nicotine has a negative affect on your heart by increasing its rate and increasing your blood pressure.
Smokeless tobacco increases your risk of oral cancers. Red sores or white patches may develop in the mouth and may become cancerous. Up to 75% of smokeless tobacco users may develop these spots. You are more likely to develop serious dental issues, such as cavities and gum disease, which can cause receding gums, loss of bone and loss of teeth. Brushing your teeth doesn’t stop the damage caused by smokeless tobacco. Not only will you have stained teeth, the bad breath from poor oral health will be a turn-off. Besides possible oral cancer, poor oral hygiene, and affects on your heart, it’s an expensive habit.
You aren’t the only one who wants to put down the can for good. There are support groups in place to help you and others. Everyone’s quit is different so check several sites to find the match that is the one for you. Below are some sites to get you started. Good luck!
QuitTobacco-Make Everyone Proud: Educational campaign for U.S. military and Veterans
Great American Spit Out/Tobacco Cessation US Army Public Health Command
Kill the Can: Welcome to the first day of the rest of your life!!!
My Last Dip
PATCH: Program Against Teen Chewing
American Cancer Society: Smokeless Tobacco
Tobacco Free Florida – Smokeless Tobacco
National Cancer Institute: Get help with quitting 1-877-44U-QUIT (1-877-448-7848)