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The Importance Of Quitting Chewing Tobacco

We all know the health risks associated with tobacco use- that doesn't make it any less difficult to stop. Whether you use chewing tobacco occasionally or every day, overcoming the habit is hard if you don't have the right tools and resources in your back pocket. Every person is different, and it is important you find the right reasons for quitting. However, the health risks associated with tobacco use can be a motivator. The best way to quit is knowing the negative side effects, setting personal goals, finding your support system, and sticking to it. Remember, you've got this!

If you feel like you are alone in this process of quitting tobacco, you're not. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 5.9 million adults currently use smokeless tobacco. About 60% of tobacco users say they'd like to quit. However, 30% say they don't have the right tools or resources to help them quit. Tobacco is a dangerous substance. Quitting the habit is one of the most important steps you can take to improve your overall health. From cancer to heart disease, to COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), to pregnancy complications, tobacco wreaks havoc on all our internal organs. However, chewing tobacco especially can cause significant damage to your oral health.

What Are The Negative Side Effects of Chewing Tobacco?

Don't be fooled. Smokeless tobacco, or chewing, can often be advertised as a"healthier," "safer" alternative to smoking. There are several dangers associated with dips and chews, and it is important to understand what they are. The American Dental Association and American Cancer Society have listed the following negative side effects of chewing tobacco:

It's important to know the health risks associated with tobacco usage but having a gameplan to stop and building your support system is equally important. Finding the solution that works for you is key to your success.

Talk to Your Dentist and Doctor

One of the first steps you can take towards quitting is to have a conversation with your dentist and doctor about your plans. Engaging a professional to help you on your journey can help tremendously. They'll give you advice and guidance to get you started on your road to recovery. Some things your doctor can help with and provide information about:

  • Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT): can either be prescription medications or over-the-counter remedies, or both.
  • Quite smoking counselors
  • Group therapy
  • Free online resources like CDC.gov/quit and SmokeFree.gov
  • Other treatment plans and resources that can help you quit

One or all of these steps might be apart of your recovery regime. However, each of these can only help your chances to quit and remain tobacco-less. Stay focused. You can do this!

Define Your Reasons to Quit Chewing Tobacco

Next, knowing why you want to quit is crucial. Outlining and detailing your reasons can help bring the plan into reality. Your reasons can be extremely personal, or they can be as general as "I just want to get healthy." Seeing your goals and reasons on paper and referring back to them is a pretty powerful antidote against any cravings that may emerge.

Set a Clear Date

It's good to have goals when quitting. It's beneficial to know how long it's been since you've stopped tobacco usage. So setting a specific date is a huge milestone. It's the day you chose to take your life back. For the Smokefree.gov plan, the first thing they recommend doing is picking your date. Putting daily reminders on your calendar and having positive, encouraging affirmations around the house will help you stay on your journey.

Tell Your Friends and Family

This process will not be easy, but it is necessary. That's why it's important to identify who your support system is upfront. Sharing your goals with friends and family can help you along the way. Some days will be challenging, and having people you can confide in and remind you why you started is really helpful. Use your dearest family members and closest friends as your support system from day 1. The American Cancer Society has highlighted some excellent actionable tips for your friends and family to help you along in your quitting journey.

 

You can avoid the harmful effects of tobacco. You can enjoy all life has to offer. And you can do it knowing you have the support of your family, friends, and doctors from start to finish. But it all starts with making one decision — the decision to quit. That's something to smile about!

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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