Tobacco is a dangerous product that can cause several health problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, an increased risk of stroke, leukoplakia, and cancer. Quitting tobacco addiction is difficult, but the benefits you will experience are more than worth the effort.
Part 1 of 4: Making a Plan
Step 1. Set a date to quit
By choosing a quit date, you can prepare yourself physically and emotionally. Pick a date a month ahead so you have enough time to prepare, but not so long that you lose your will. While you can try to quit drastically, people who have already made plans are more likely to give up the bad habit and stay tobacco-free.
Step 2. Determine the schedule
Make a schedule based on the amount of tobacco you currently use, and gradually reduce the quantity. Use the calendar to select a period before your quit date to reduce the quantity of tobacco so you get used to using less and less. You may decide to reduce your consumption a little each week until you no longer use tobacco.
For example, if you use 1 can per day, start using 1 can for 2 days. Then, the following week use 1 can every 4 days. Keep cutting back until you almost never use it again by the specified stop date
Step 3. Write down your reasons for quitting
What are the reasons you stopped the habit of chewing tobacco? Writing down the personal factors that motivated this change can clarify your goals, which can be especially helpful when you're having a hard time resisting temptation. Some reasons to stop chewing tobacco are:
- There is no need to treat tobacco stains on teeth and clothes.
- Your breath will be fresher.
- Any sores in the mouth will heal.
- No more searching for cans or bottles to dispose of liquid tobacco.
- There is no need to find excuses to leave a meeting or gathering to chew tobacco.
- Can save money spent on buying tobacco.
Step 4. Start reducing tobacco use immediately
Reduce the amount of tobacco once you decide to quit, gradually until the quit date comes. The less nicotine in your system on the day you quit, the better, because you'll get used to using less and you'll be able to get over your addiction better.
When you feel a strong urge to chew tobacco, delay it as long as possible
Step 5. Decide not to chew tobacco in certain situations
To help reduce tobacco use, make a list of places where chewing is prohibited, such as work or school. Then, when you go to those places, leave the tobacco at home to avoid temptation. That way, you'll slowly get used to the feeling that tobacco isn't always accessible.
Step 6. Know what your triggers are
Everyone has triggers that make their bad habits relapse. Recognizing and eliminating these triggers can help you quit. Examples of triggers are meeting a friend who also likes to chew tobacco, recognizing a pleasant sound or smell you associate with tobacco, or a state of stress, fear, or anxiety.
Plan ways to deal with these triggers with the opposite habit. For example, if you usually chew tobacco after work, try replacing it with other activities
Step 7. Provide an alternative chewable material
Fill the food cupboard with chewing gum, beef jerky, chewable fruit, or fake dips. Many people find that chewing on other ingredients can help overcome the withdrawal effect, making the quitting process much easier.
Step 8. Look for medication to help quit (optional)
See your doctor for a prescription for medications such as varenicline and bupropion that help slowly break harmful habits, and nicotine patches that reduce physical withdrawal symptoms. In order to have time to take your medication, make an appointment with your doctor well in advance of your stop date. If you decide to take a prescription medication, start taking it 1 or 2 weeks before your stop date.
Part 2 of 4: Stop on a Specified Date
Step 1. Stop chewing tobacco on the specified date
When the day of quitting finally comes, muster the resolve and force yourself to quit. The addiction will be intense, but remember that chewing tobacco or using tobacco in any other form is no longer an option. If you feel the urge to chew, look for other chewing alternatives.
When you're having trouble, reread your statement and reasons for quitting. Remember that the decision was a good one and how much benefit you will get
Step 2. Remove all tobacco residue and traces
Collect empty or half-empty cans, tobacco-stained clothes, or tobacco memorabilia that might tempt you to chew "just one more time." Throw it all away and make sure the trash is picked up as soon as possible. Then, make a fresh start with new clothes, new sheets, and other new items to replace the tobacco-smelling stuff.
Step 3. Change daily habits that remind you of tobacco
Daily activities such as watching TV or driving may be related to your desire to chew tobacco. Small changes like watching TV in another room or taking a different route to work can take your mind off tobacco, as can trying a new hobby or activity. Fill your days with good habits that take the time and energy you previously used to chew tobacco.
Step 4. Give yourself a chance to be alone if necessary
Quitting your addiction to tobacco can make you emotional with friends, family, and coworkers, especially in the first weeks. When you get emotional during a conversation, politely excuse yourself. People will understand, and in a few weeks you will be back to normal.
Part 3 of 4: Coping With Withdrawal Symptoms
Step 1. Remember that the withdrawal symptoms will end
Although these symptoms are very unpleasant, you will not feel them forever. Most people only experience withdrawal symptoms for 5 to 7 days. So things will get better if you stick around.
Read again the reasons for quitting to remember the importance of this endeavor
Step 2. Stay away from tobacco triggers
Avoid association with people who enjoy tobacco, and stay away from places or events where you would normally go to chew tobacco. This is very important, especially during the first weeks, to protect yourself from relapse. If you feel your willpower is weakening due to internal triggers, contact a support group member or therapist.
Step 3. Join a support group so you can chat with people who understand your plight
Anti-nicotine groups and similar support groups provide an opportunity to talk about problems with people who have experienced them. Consider joining if there is such a group in your area, or meet a friend who has chewed tobacco and wants to share their experiences.
Step 4. Talk to a therapist for help with anxiety and withdrawal symptoms
Find a therapist nearby who specializes in addiction. A therapist can help you deal with the anticipation, excitement, and fear that usually accompany big decisions. In addition, a therapist can help you develop a plan for dealing with withdrawal symptoms that are physically and emotionally severe.
Step 5. Don't give in to rationalization
Rationalization is a dangerous thought that tries to convince you to use tobacco again. Recognize those thoughts, and have a plan for dealing with them. For example, if you're thinking, "What's the harm in chewing just one more time?", recognize that the thought is not based on reality and immediately grab an alternative chewing material. Some common rationalizations that people think of are:
- "Everyone will die no matter what the cause."
- "This is a free country."
- "I will enjoy life to the fullest."
Part 4 of 4: Living Without Tobacco
Step 1. Maintain the habits that help you quit
After 2 or 3 weeks, the intense physical addiction will subside. However, you will still have to deal with other things, such as nicotine triggers and rationalizing thoughts. Continue to apply the methods that got you through the initial hurdles, and get rid of habits that don't help. If necessary, talk about your struggles with your family, contact a therapist, or revisit a support group.
Step 2. Celebrate your success
Set success milestones such as tobacco-free for 2 weeks, tobacco-free for 3 months, and tobacco-free for 1 year. When that day comes, celebrate using the money you've saved from your tobacco budget to buy gifts for yourself, such as a fancy meal, or a vacation. Quitting tobacco addiction is hard work, and your accomplishments are worth celebrating.
Step 3. Don't let a one-time give-up incident stop your efforts forever
Giving in to temptation is common among tobacco users. If you are tempted and give up, evaluate why it happened and address the triggers or rationalizing thoughts that caused it. Giving in to temptation this once doesn't mean you're a failure, but make sure that it keeps you from falling into addiction again.
- Don't underestimate the incident when you gave up. Call your family, therapist, or support group to talk about what's going on. Write down your thoughts and recall your reasons for quitting.
- If addicted again, restart from the beginning. Think about what worked and what didn't, then try again. With determination and a solid plan, you will eventually be able to give up the habit of chewing tobacco once and for all.