If you use smokeless tobacco products and have tried or considered quitting before, let VA help you leave dip or chew behind for good. The Great American Spit Out on Feb. 20 is the perfect time to prioritize your health and blaze a new trail free of dip cans, chew pouches and spit cups.
Using dip or chew increases the risk of oral cancers and cancer of the pancreas and esophagus. These products also cause your gums to pull away from teeth in the area where tobacco is held, and often lead to painful sores and decay in exposed roots.
VA encourages all Veterans to toss their smokeless tobacco products. You can start celebrating healthier teeth and gums, a boost in energy levels and a reduced overall cancer risk. This video is a great resource for learning more about quitting smokeless tobacco, and these VA tools can help you quit:
- Counseling and Medication: Counseling and medication fit together like pieces of a puzzle. When combined, counseling can help you identify and address the behaviors and triggers that lead to tobacco use; medication can help relieve your cravings and physical symptoms. Learn more about how these pieces fit together by watching the Tobacco and Health: Counseling and Medication video and talking with your VA health care provider.
- Quit VET: Quit VET is VA’s quitline, created with Veterans in mind. It’s staffed by trained counselors who help Veterans through all phases of the quit journey — including creating a quit plan and providing support after a slip. To get started with Quit VET, call 1-855-QUIT-VET (1-855-784-8838) between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday (except federal holidays).
- SmokefreeVET: Veterans who are quitting tobacco can receive daily text messages of support and encouragement by texting VET to 47848 or visiting smokefree.gov/VET. They can also reach out when they are tempted to use tobacco by texting keywords such as URGE or DIPPED to 47848.
Celebrate your accomplishment
After the Great American Spit Out, smile brighter and bigger, knowing that your teeth, gums, heart and overall health are better. Then, celebrate your accomplishment with your family and friends. And don’t forget — in the difficult moments, VA is standing by with the support and resources you need to continue on your path free of dip or chew.
Kim Hamlett-Berry, Ph.D., is the national program director for Tobacco & Health: Policy and Programs in VHA’s Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention.