Kick the habit with Great American ‘Spit Out’

Compiled Story and photo by Brad Taft
U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine

“Smoking is bad. I know that. But look, I don’t smoke, I chew. That’s a lot better choice, right?”
“That depends.”

Chewing tobacco is a choice that depends on two things: what you want to get out of using smokeless tobacco and the price you’re willing to pay to get what you want.
You are the Army’s most important asset. You are strong − Army strong. Nothing should get in your way as you live out your strength of character, your strength of will and your strength of purpose.

The problem is that smokeless tobacco does get in your way because it is highly addictive. The drug nicotine makes smokeless tobacco addictive and the amount of nicotine you get from a dip of chewing tobacco is three to four times the amount delivered by a cigarette.

Just like any other addiction, addiction to smokeless tobacco takes things away from you:

Money − each year hundreds of dollars of your hard-earned money gets put in your mouth and then spit out.

Health − you may develop problems with your teeth, mouth and stomach from the chemicals in smokeless tobacco. There also is  the possibility of heart problems and cancer.

Priorities − everything starts to revolve around you being able to have a chew.
If you can’t get through the day without chewing tobacco, then you are probably addicted.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the nicotine in tobacco makes it as tough to break free of tobacco addiction as it is to break free of addiction to heroin or cocaine.

However, you can free yourself from smokeless tobacco addiction. The annual Great American Spit Out is Thursday. The Army Toolkit for GASpO 2008 has some good resources, as do the sites listed below. Check them out and talk to your healthcare provider about beating the addiction to smokeless tobacco.