By Sally Wagoner, RN, TTS, BreatheWell Newaygo County
Want to Quit the Spit? Kill the Can? Now is the right time to start! Saturday February 21 is National “Quit the Spit” day, and February 21-27 is “Through with Chew” week.
Have you tried but have gone back to chew? Most people cannot do it alone, and there is help for you!
You can go local with the help from Tobacco Treatment Specialists at Spectrum Health Gerber and DHD #10.
And you can find daily support online from a community organization called Kill the Can. Check out these resources at the end of this article.
Smokeless tobacco (dip or chew) is NOT a replacement for smoking. Just like smoking, smokeless tobacco is highly addictive and can cause cancer of the mouth, throat, stomach, and pancreas. It can also cause painful gum disease, cavities, and tooth loss. Plus, smiles turn yellow and brown with chew – not a pretty sight.
Each can of chew has about the same amount of nicotine as four packs of cigarettes. So if you dip a half can each day, you are getting the same nicotine as a two pack a day smoker.
Even though you may not be breathing in toxins as you would with smoking, the cancer-causing poisons in the tobacco are still getting into your body through swallowing and absorption in your mouth. The addiction rate of dip and chew is as much as smoking. Addiction may occur even quicker because the amount of nicotine per use is greater than smoking and is absorbed more efficiently through saliva than with inhaling.
Rural youth and adults have higher rates of using chew than in other areas. Youth are often given their first dip by adults who chew – even by sports coaches! As of 2019, over half of all Professional baseball stadiums have banned tobacco from their stadiums and new Major League Baseball players are banned from using chew, dip or snuff through new contracts.
You can Quit the Spit! Kill the Can! Be Through with Chew!
Nicotine Replacement Treatments such as nicotine patches, gum and lozenges are important to use to help eliminate urges. A Tobacco Treatment Specialist can work with you and your provider to choose the right product and strength for you. Sometimes your insurance will help pay for these.
Check out these resources to help you start your quit:
Kill the Can (www.killthecan.org) is a community based organization that helps people quit through stories of experience and group support. Their forum, where people post questions, share information and develop quitter friendships is free:
KillTheCan.org Accountability Forum - Index (ktcforum.org).
BreatheWell Newaygo County is the tobacco and nicotine reduction workgroup of Headway Coalition. Community members, teachers, parents, youth and all others are welcome to join the efforts to support good health and wellbeing through the elimination of tobacco, nicotine and vaping products. Contact Caitlin Mitchell Schucker for more information: 231.924.7589