So you’ve decided to quit chewing.
Or maybe you haven’t but the concept is appealing. Well, quitting chewing tobacco doesn’t have to be as difficult as everyone says it is.
In fact, there are a few ways to quit chewing tobacco. Here they are from simplest to most difficult.
Often, chewers can get away with making themselves think they’re still chewing tobacco even if they’re not. If the desire to chew is more physical habit than chemical habit, you can try chewing gum, eating apples, or even switching to natural smokeless tobacco alternatives.
Once the chemical attachment to chew is gone, you have only to deal with your physical attachments, which can be relearned.
The Long, Slow Chew
Those with slightly higher-than-average willpower can wean themselves from chew by making a conscious effort to reduce their intake each week, which can be done by replacing every other can with natural mint chew or chewing gum.
Slowly cutting chew out from your daily habits will prevent wicked withdrawal symptoms later on, since you’re teaching your body to live without the nicotine as you go. Don’t get discouraged if you slip back into old habits for a day or two; you’re still in good shape. Get back on track as soon as possible.
This is the method prescribed by the National Institutes of Health when people ask how to quit chewing tobacco: stop now and deal with withdrawal later. The NIH recommends you taper down before quitting all of a sudden, however.
By preparing yourself both mentally and physically, you’ll be able to kick the habit. The withdrawal symptoms only last two weeks, so as long as you’ve got enough healthy food, access to the outdoors, and friends who will put up with your complaining and irritability, you’ll be able to do it.
Pick a two-week window where you anticipate encountering no stressful situations. So, if you need to complete a big presentation at work, a big exam or project at school, or your hometown team is in the Super Bowl, these are not ideal times to quit something like nicotine addiction.
Remember, your cravings for nicotine can actually be cravings for food, which is why having healthy stuff at your disposal is ideal. Besides, think of all the money you’ll save this year if you aren’t buying chew—probably enough to see the Super Bowl in person.