Major League Baseball parks across the country have banned smokeless tobacco, a play that will help encourage fans and players to kick a habit that’s bad for oral and overall health.1 The biggest winners of the new rule may be our nation’s kids, who will no longer see and want to mimic their favorite baseball players chewing tobacco, a habit that contributes to tooth decay, gum disease and oral cancer.
More than 90 percent of smokeless tobacco users in the U.S. are men, yet studies show that women have a harder time trying to quit and have less success with abstinence programs than men.2 Quitting may be hard, but here are some ways to help you or someone you know knock the habit out of your life:
- Decide to quit. Like with any bad habit, you first have to want to quit on your own. It helps to think of the benefits of stopping, such as your oral and overall health and setting a good example for kids and other family members. Plus, you’ll be throwing out an unappealing habit that requires a lot of spitting, causes bad breath and stains teeth.
- Pick a date. Choosing a quit date is important because it gives you a reason to stop putting it off. Setting a date will also give you some time to mentally prepare and get ready for the day. You should share this date with a support team of friends and family so they can help encourage you to quit.
- Cut back before you quit. Quitting cold turkey may be possible for some people, but it can help to gradually cut back before you reach your quit day. Try leaving your tin or pouch at home for the day or switching to a lower nicotine product to help prevent strong withdrawals.
- Plan your quit day. Do something special on your quit day to distract yourself. Change your normal routines to help avoid tobacco triggers. Carry sugar-free gum and hard candy to use when the urge to chew strikes.
Breaking a smokeless tobacco habit is hard work, but stay positive and remember that you are improving your health and your future. Once you quit, celebrate with your support team and show off your new, healthy mouth with a smile.