Spit it out: Quitting the chewing tobacco habit

Posted at 11:50 AM, Feb 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-18 14:10:10-05

It’s not a pretty picture—or a healthy one. Smokeless (or chewing) tobacco can cause a host of problems, from gum decay to oral cancer.

On Feb. 18, challenged chewing tobacco users to kick the habit for at least a day. The Great America Spit Out campaign, run by the U.S. Department of Defense, offers resources and support for people trying to quit.

According to, the prevalence of chewing tobacco use is higher among servicemen than among the civilian population.

"Most recent surveys found 12.8 percent of service members use smokeless tobacco compared to 3.6 percent of the U.S adult population,” reads a press release on the website.

Major league baseball players have long been high-profile users of "chew," and leading health organizations are urging them to kick the habit. 

As far back as 2008, Major League Baseball claimed use of was starting to decline. One article pointed to signs of lessening use, while acknowledging "...plenty of anecdotal evidence showing that there remain a number of players, coaches, managers and other club personnel who still sneak a smoke, a dip, a wad or a plug."

5 health effects of chewing tobacco use:

  1. addiction
  2. gum decay
  3. cavities
  4. mouth sores
  5. oral cancer

Source: ( 

There is some evidence to show that use of smokeless tobacco among teens is on the rise as well. According to the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) 15 percent of high school boys use smokeless tobacco, and an estimated 9% of all high school students use smokeless tobacco.

While the initiative was launched with military personnel in mind, anyone can take advantage of many resources offered.

The "Quit Tobacco" campaign is largely aimed at military personnel. Source: