How to Stop Dipping

Four Methods:Deciding to QuitPreparing for Side-EffectsCurbing Your CravingsStaying Tobacco Free

Smokeless tobacco contains at least 3,000 chemicals that are extremely harmful to your body. Just like cigarettes, tobacco dips contain nicotine, an extremely addictive drug that causes your body to crave tobacco products. Just one pinch of smokeless tobacco contains as much nicotine as three to four cigarettes. If you're ready to kick your dipping habit and start taking control of your life, follow the steps below to recognize your problem and define a clear path to a tobacco-free lifestyle.

Method 1
Deciding to Quit

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    Recognize the problem. Dipping may not seem as dangerous as cigarettes are to some people because no smoke is involved. However, dipping can cause cancers of the mouth, throat, and esophagus, as well as shrinking of the gums around your teeth, cracked lips, white spots, sores, bleeding in the mouth, tooth loss, bad breath, and increased risk for heart disease and stroke.
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    Quit for yourself. Make the decision to quit about you, not about someone else in your life. If you quit for someone else when you don't want to, you may resent them during the withdrawal process.
    • That being said, family members and friends can be a great support and inspiration for quitting dipping. Accept support from your loved ones.
    • Dipping can greatly impact not only your life but the lives of your family and friends.
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    Count the financial costs of your addiction. Realize that you are spending money to harm yourself. If you are chewing as often as one can per day, your addiction can get expensive very quickly. Try to view your addiction as an intense waste of money if that helps you recognize that you have a problem.
    • Your health insurance costs will also go up as a result of your chewing habit.
    • If you do contract a disease or cancer as a result of dipping, the cost of treatment will be enormous.
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    Find the source your addiction. You may not be able to remember when you chose to start dipping. In fact, it may not have been a conscious decision at all. Chances are, you did not plan to become a dipper, but somehow it happened and now you need to fix it.
    • Maybe your friends and/or family introduced you to dipping one day and you gradually accepted, eventually becoming comfortable with the substance and ultimately becoming addicted.
    • Maybe a certain behavior triggers a tobacco craving, such as playing in a baseball league with other dippers. Identify and avoid trigger behaviors and settings.
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    Be honest with yourself. Evaluate the facts of your situation, not how you feel about them. Your feelings are important, but they sometimes lead you to a false sense of reality.
    • When your mind tries to tell you that you cannot withhold a dip any longer, recognize that the truth is you will not die if you withhold a dip.
    • When your mind starts to make excuses, try to bring yourself back to the reality of the situation.[1]
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    Make a primary choice and a continuous choice. Your primary choice consists of your long-term goal, which is that you are going to quit dipping. Your continuous choice is an immediate choice that you can revisit each day, such as "I am not going to dip right now."[2]

Method 2
Preparing for Side-Effects

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    Getting through the initial stage. The first three days after you decide to quit will be extremely hard on your physical body. Your body takes 72 hours to pass nicotine out of your system.
    • Drink lots of water during this stage.
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    • Channel your anger into some activity, whether it is working out, journaling your experience, or making art.
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    Expect mental struggles during days 4 through 20. While the worst of the physical ailments will be over by this point because the nicotine has passed through your system, you will begin to have to develop mental will-power. Your body has to figure out how to operate without nicotine.
    • During this stage, you may encounter cravings, irritability, insomnia, fatigue, inability to focus, headache, sore throat, tongue, and/or gums, constipation, gas, stomach pain, and dry mouth.
    • Focus on your mental stamina and health during the second stage.
    • Avoid triggers. Triggers are certain behaviors that bring up the desire to dip. These may be places where you usually dip, people you usually dip with, or activities you usually complete with a dip in.
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    Watch your symptoms ease by the month and a half mark. By day 50 or so, you should be experiencing less symptoms and be slowly transitioning to a normal routine. Sores may form in your mouth, but don't be alarmed, this is your mouth healing small ulcers that may have developed from dipping.
    • Visit your dentist if the sores become painful, discolored, or seem to be infected.
    • You should be sleeping better by this stage. If you are not, think about visiting a doctor who can evaluate your body's progress.
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    Prepare for possible anxiety attacks up until month two and a half. During this stage, some people suffer from anxiety attacks as a result of the inability to use tobacco to calm themselves down.
    • If your anxiety attacks are really bad and physically alarming, contact your doctor. S/he may prescribe an anxiety medication or an anti-depressant of some sort.
    • Think about talking with a therapist or joining a community of ex-dippers to quell stress by talking about your anxieties.
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    Experience disillusionment at month three. Expect to feel sluggish, unclear, and experience scattered cravings at this stage. Some people experience just a few days of feeling like they just started the process, but stay strong.
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    Celebrate the 100 day mark. By this time, you should be pretty much past the physical side-effects. You may still experience cravings every once in a while, but stick to your guns and be strong. [3]

Method 3
Curbing Your Cravings

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    Satisfy the need for oral fixation. A huge part of the attractiveness of dipping is the oral stimulation that it provides. There are several different types of fake chew on the market that can simulate the experience without damaging your health.
    • Purchase an herbal-based chew such as Jake's Mint Chew or BACCOFF Non Tobacco Chew. Fake chews usually come in several different flavors, including a flavor that simulates the taste and feel of real chewing tobacco.
    • Chew nicotine gum or regular gum. Some people will only need to simulate the feeling of constantly chewing on something to get their oral fixation. Purchase your favorite chewing gum or nicotine gum and pop a piece in your mouth when a craving arises.
    • Use sunflower seeds. Sunflower seeds are often eaten during baseball games as an alternative to chewing tobacco. They give you something to chew on and spit out, simulating the feeling of dipping.[4]
    • Begin using these products the day you stop dipping.
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    Choose a different type of nicotine replacement therapy. There are several different nicotine replacements on the market that allow your body to get a necessary amount of nicotine without ingesting the other harmful chemicals in tobacco. These can help ease withdrawal symptoms.
    • Nicotine gum, patches, and lozenges are available over the counter. Gum and lozenges may be the most effective for dippers because they most resemble the action of dipping.
    • Nicotine nasal spray and nasal inhalers require a prescription from a doctor, and may be less effective for smokeless tobacco users.
    • If you use more than three cans or pouches per week, you are considered a heavy user and require high doses of nicotine replacement therapy. Those who use two to three cans should try moderate doses, and those who use less than two should use low doses.
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    Take prescription drugs. Some drugs are available with a prescription from your doctor that can help with the symptoms of withdrawal. Some can be started a week or so before you begin to quit and can sometimes be used in conjunction with other types of nicotine replacement therapy.
    • Varenicline (Chantix®) manipulates the nicotine receptors in your brain and helps ease the symptoms of withdrawal. It can be taken in pill form twice daily and should be started a week before you plan to quit. Studies have shown that Varenicline can help to increase long-term quitting success. Some mild side effects such as nausea, dizziness, and vomiting may occur.
    • Bupropion (Zyban® or Wellbutrin® or Aplenzin®) is an anti-depressant that may help smokeless tobacco users, but the evidence is unclear. It does not contain nicotine and comes in an extended-release pill form.[5]
    • Consult your doctor about whether a prescription drug is right for you.
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    Drink a lot of water. Keep your body hydrated and try to stay healthy in other areas of your life such as your eating habits.
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    Exercise. Physical activity can distract you from cravings immediately. Just 30 minutes of exercise per day can quell a tobacco craving.[6]
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    Establish a relaxation technique. Perform any tasks or activities that help you relax. This could be a hobby such as crafting, working on cars, or gardening, as well as some sort of visualization practice.
    • Try deep-breathing exercises and visualization techniques to calm an anxious mind. If a yoga practice interests you, try visiting a nearby studio or practice a yoga video in your home.
    • Hypnosis has also been successful in helping some people quit using tobacco.[7]

Method 4
Staying Tobacco Free

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    Join a tobacco cessation program or obtain a quitting partner. Choose a group of people or a person that shares your desire to quit dipping or has already gone through the process. Doing so will give you someone to be accountable to and allows you to hold someone else responsible as well. Here's what to look for in a program:
    • Offers one-on-one or group counseling.
    • Counseling sessions last at least 15 to 30 minutes.
    • Your program meets for a least four sessions during a two-week period.
    • The group leader should be educated in tobacco cessation.
    • The longer and more intense the program, the higher the chance you will have of succeeding.[8]
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    Write down your thoughts and feelings. Keeping a journal is a great way to record your quitting process and remind yourself why you chose to quit in the first place.
    • You will have good days and bad days, and the entries that you wrote on the good days will help you through the tougher ones when you revisit those feelings of accomplishment.
    • Journaling can also be a cathartic process that allows you to release your emotions in a healthy, focused way.
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    Obtain the goal of freedom. Look at your addiction as something that is holding you back not just from being your best self, but also holding you back from living a free life. Sure, you chose to take that initial dip, but then you became addicted to the tobacco. Consciously remind yourself that you no longer want tobacco to rule your life.
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    Stay in the present moment. Refrain from looking to the past and dwelling on what you should have or could have done sooner, but also try not to look to the future too much. While you do want to retain hope that you can kick the habit and be a healthier person, try to stay grounded in the present moment.
    • Take your addiction treatment one day at a time. You are going to suffer throughout the entire process even after you've reached the 100 day benchmark. Try to retain perspective and take it day by day.
    • Don't dwell on a particularly bad day. You may experience periods of depression alongside days when you feel great. Don't beat yourself up if you experience a setback.
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    Help someone else quit. Once you've reached a stable point in your quitting process (around the 100 day mark) directly mentor someone in your existing group, or join a group to start mentoring someone.
    • Giving back to others who need help will gratify you immensely and help you feel a sense of achievement.
    • Mentoring someone also keeps you accountable to another person. When you have someone relying on you and looking to you for support, you will feel a duty to stay honest to yourself and your partner.


  • Don't give up if you cave in and take a dip. Acknowledge your fault and keep trying your best to stick to your decision to quit.
  • Foods may taste different to you when your taste returns.
  • Beware of tobacco cessation program scams that promise immediate results.
  • Don't take out your frustration or anxiety on loved ones.
  • Read packing on nicotine replacement products, as nicotine overdose is possible.
  • You may temporarily lose your sense of taste during the quitting process, but it should come back within a few weeks. See a doctor if your sense of taste does not come back.
  • Avoiding drinking for the first month and a half of quitting. Doing so generally triggers the desire to dip and weakens your will power.
  • Bandits and pouches are considered dipping. They contain addictive nicotine.


  • Listen to your conscious desire to stay clean, not your acquired desire to have a dip.
  • After one year clean, your excess risk of coronary heart disease will be half that of a dipper.
  • Be aware of triggers and avoid them as often as possible.
  • Set a date to quit dipping and stick to it.
  • Embrace the support of family and friends.
  • After 15 years clean, your risk of coronary heart disease returns to that of a non-dipper.
  • Consider giving the money you save by not dipping to a good cause as a way of acknowledging your success and encouraging the success of others.
  • After 10 years clean, your risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidneys, and pancreas decreases.

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Categories: Smoking