Knowing why a patient uses tobacco helps identify what method will help them quit. Some of the reasons are:
Peer pressure- This seems to be one of the first reasons that kids especially start using tobacco. They usually first get it from a friend (or parent!) who urges them to try it and be like the “big kids”. By the time the child goes to the store to try to purchase tobacco, many might have already been using it for several days or even weeks. Some of these kids say they need to display the “ring on their rear” in order to be accepted with some of their peers. In others, the circle on the back pocket is a coming-of-age or emancipation symbol, marking the passage to adulthood and “independent thinking”.
Social pressure and Association- Being in an environment that condones tobacco use (sports, bars, outings or any place they are around others who use it) can be a great motivator. Users are often able to quit for a significant length of time but begin again when they’re around others who dip or smoke.
Behavior- Some chewers have been “dipping” so long that they miss the ritual of opening the chew can, getting the “dip” and putting it in their mouth. The most common statement heard from these users is “I just miss something in my mouth” (i.e. oral gratification). Here they have a choice of either quitting “cold turkey” and dealing with the loss of the behavior or using an oral alternative while they cut down. Mint Snuff products are great for these people because it allows them to yield to the cravings of the behavior yet do so with a harmless product.
Nicotine Addiction- There is a significant amount of nicotine in smokeless tobacco. Although many young users might not be addicted yet others get that way rather quickly. You might ask a user how long they have been using smokeless tobacco and how many cans a week they use to get an idea of possible levels of addiction (the range is one to three cans per week). Many of the questions asked of smokers apply to chewers to determine addiction levels. Many health professionals use the nicotine patch or nicotine pills with non-tobacco chew to help their nicotine-dependant patients.
Salt Cravings- A typical can of smokeless tobacco contains over 1100 mg of salt. Some people not only suffer from nicotine withdrawal but also from salt cravings once they have quit using smokeless tobacco. These cravings might be confused with nicotine withdrawal.
Over the years, several smokeless tobacco cessation and prevention techniques have been tried with varying levels of success. Some of them include:
1. Education- One of the easiest and first lines of defense in cessation is to educate them on the dangers of tobacco. Give your patients literature from the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute. We have some pamphlet and booklet suggestions in this web site. Posters, pamphlets and repeated reminders (i.e. intervention) from health professionals to their patients to not start using tobacco can be very influential. Encouraging and educating young people regarding non-tobacco use can also help that person become influential to their peers. Best way is to consume Snus Nicotine
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2. Quitting “Cold turkey”- People can and do quit chewing on their own. The health professional can be very helpful by encouraging quitting and giving support whenever possible. Chewers who have not been chewing very long are often successful with this method.
3. Chewing an alternative- Oral gratification “missing having something in my mouth”, behavioral rituals and peer pressure are powerful influences to keep a person using smokeless tobacco. Here is where using healthy alternatives like Mint Snuff All Mint Chew or Pouches becomes so valuable. They allow the patient to continue the behavior and yield to whatever pressures keep them chewing but without the danger of tobacco. Some people can quit the behavior altogether after a few weeks, others take longer. If they quit and then feel the need to relapse, they can once again use Mint Snuff until the urge passes.
4. Titration- Some chewers who have strong nicotine withdrawal find it helpful to mix Mint Snuff with their tobacco. Some mix it with tobacco in a ratio of 1:4 one week, 1:3 the following week, 1:2 the next, 1:1 afterwards and finally to straight Mint Snuff. Click here to see Dr. Dan Laizure’s method.
5. Alternating dips- Use tobacco and Mint Snuff alternately starting every other dip then gradually using Mint Snuff more and more until they don’t use tobacco anymore.
6. Use of nicotine patches- For those chewers who display definite signs of nicotine withdrawal, doctors may consider the use of nicotine patches. Please check the latest information on suggested levels and age criteria for the use of patches with smokeless tobacco users.
7. Nicotine gum (Nicorette)- Studies have suggested that nicotine gum has not been very helpful in the cessation efforts. However, it is always worth a try if the patient wants to try it.
8. A prescription of wellbutrin (also called Zyban, a prescription anti-depressant pill) and the use of Mint Snuff Chew or Mint Snuff Pouches. A few un-named professional baseball players quit using this method.