The tobacco used in chewing tobacco is filled with nicotine, an addictive material to provide delightful feelings when consumed. Nicotine is a stimulant as well as depressant. A person under the influence of tobacco might act happier and more alert. Besides the temporary pleasurable effects, nicotine also produces serious negative effects, like nausea, diarrhea and sweating. Also, nicotine is responsible for health problems like mouth cancer, elevated blood pressure, increased heart rate and increased blood flow, thus leading to narrowed arteries.
Tobacco Chewing Addiction: Withdrawal Symptoms
When an individual smokes or chews tobacco for a long prolonged period of time, addiction is possible as the body gets used to the temporary effects produced by the substance. Efforts to quit this addiction might produce some body changes because of the lack of nicotine.
These changes, known as withdrawal symptoms, include concentration problems, headaches, strong craving for the substance, tension, increased appetite, irritability, disturbed sleep, weight gain, frustration and depression. The severity of these symptoms, however, depends upon the duration of the addiction.
Tobacco Chewing Addiction: Tips to Quit
Once you have made a firm decision to quit chewing tobacco, it is not a difficult task. Although it is difficult to resist temptation. So you will need to be strong and persevering in your endeavour. Here are some tips to help you quit this habit of chewing tobacco and regain control over your life and health.
1. Set a Goal
Set a fixed date as your goal to be tobacco-free on. It is recommended by the American Academy of Family Physicians to set this date about 2-4 weeks after you have planned to begin the quitting process. This would allow your body to have sufficient time to cope with the cravings experienced during the initial days of the process. Also, this time would help combat the side effects related to giving up chewing tobacco. Furthermore, setting a concrete date would also keep you motivated to overcome your tobacco chewing addiction.
2. Nicotine supplements
There are numerous products available in the market that can be used as a substitute for the chewing tobacco. These are commonly known as nicotine supplements and are available in the form of gum, nicotine patch and nicotine lozenges.
Akin to cigarettes, chewing tobacco also pioneers nicotine in the body’s system. This is what leads to addiction and is also difficult to quit. Nicotine supplements provide smaller doses of the chemical thus helping to reduce cravings as you move forward in the process of quitting the habit of chewing tobacco.
3. Find a Hobby as An Alternative
This is another effective step in moving away from this addiction. Look for a leisure activity or hobby if you tend to have a lot of free time on your hands. Many individuals turn to chewing tobacco just as a way to kill their boredom and end up getting addicted to it. Therefore, keeping yourself busy with an activity or cultivating a hobby that can keep you busy in your free time would prove helpful in overcoming your addiction.
4. Oral Substitutes
You can use oral substitutes to keep your mouth busy. Chewing tobacco develops a habit of chomping which makes it difficult for the addicted person to get over the habit. If this is exactly the cause of your addiction, it would be easier for you to reduce on tobacco cravings by chewing other products like sugar-free gum or sunflower seeds.
5. Doctor’s Help
This should be the last recourse to quitting chewing tobacco. If you have tried on all the aforesaid options and none of these worked well for you, you can look for support from a specialist, counsellor or support groups that provide special services for the cause.
Sometimes, you might need extra help even to get started with the process of quitting your addiction. Many times, you need counselling sessions to keep moving forward and keeping yourself motivated, so that you don’t go back to the habit. There is nothing wrong from seeking help and assistance from a professional.
Whether you chew or smoke tobacco, you should realise it is a harmful addiction to have. You could be opening your body to serious diseases like cancer, cardiovascular problems, tissue damage and many more. As it is said, “Better late than never”, it is better to start looking for ways to overcome your tobacco chewing addiction today than tomorrow! You won’t regret this decision.