5 Reasons Why Quitting Smokeless Tobacco is Too Difficult

by Dr Antonio Howell, MD

in quit smoking

The 3 Week Diet

Chances are you’ve tried quitting just like any other smokeless tobacco users – but you failed. Why is quitting and/or staying quit so hard for most people?

The answer is this: NICOTINE.


young man vaping with an electronic cigaretteNicotine is highly addictive. Nicotine is a natural substance found in tobacco that is as addictive as cocaine and heroin. Eventually, a person not only becomes physically addicted, he also becomes emotionally dependent to nicotine. The physical addiction causes the withdrawal symptoms the person feels after quitting. While mental or emotional dependence makes it difficult for former tobacco users to stay nicotine free. Studies have shown consistently that for a tobacco user to successfully quit and stay quit, he or she must deal with both the mental and physical aspects of addiction.

Nicotine goes deep within your system. When you chew tobacco, from your mouth, nicotine enters your bloodstream and is distributed throughout your body. It affects how your brain, and your heart (and all other parts of your body) works. It affects your hormones and metabolism, creating dependency on nicotine. It alters your bodily functions that sudden drop in nicotine, and its bi-products, such as cotinine, creates unpleasant reaction or feeling.

Nicotine causes withdrawal symptoms. Tobacco users experience what is called the “withdrawal symptoms” every time the nicotine level in their body decreases. The problem with nicotine, the longer you chew tobacco, the higher your nicotine requirement becomes, and sudden stoppage would result to these withdrawal symptoms, which are normally unpleasant and distracts the user prompting them to chew more. Similar to smoking, the more cigarettes a person smoke, the more he crave for more, the harder it is for him to quit smoking. Daily nicotine levels are very much similar among smokeless tobacco users and smokers.


Nicotine withdrawal symptoms often lead to relapse. Cutting or stopping the use of smokeless tobacco causes similar withdrawal symptoms as those people trying to quit smoking. Studies even revealed that individuals who use oral snuffs find it very difficult to give up tobacco as smokers who quit smoking. They would even smoke cigarettes in the absence of oral tobacco just to satisfy their cravings.


Those who use oral or smokeless tobacco habitually for a few weeks or more will normally experience withdrawal symptoms if they abruptly reduce or stop their tobacco use. The symptoms will start to manifest after a few hours of your last chew or dip and peak about two to three days later or when the nicotine level is at the lowest. This may last for a few days to several weeks.

Quitting smokeless tobacco is quite different. In several ways, quitting smokeless or oral tobacco is a lot similar to quitting smoking. They both involve physical, emotional, and mental addiction. Also, most ways to confront the mental difficulties of quitting are identical. But there are two things that are unique to smokeless tobacco users:

  • Often smokeless tobacco users strongly require an oral substitute. They need something to chew in the place of snuff, or pouch.
  • Mouth sores normally start to wean and gum problems often stop from progressing, after weeks of quitting.

The 3 Week Diet

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