Other Ways to Quit Smokeless Tobacco

You may hear or read about other tools or methods to quit tobacco use besides nicotine replacement therapy or prescription drugs. While these may help some people, there’s no strong proof that they can improve the chances of quitting smokeless tobacco.

Cold turkey and gradual withdrawal

There’s no one right way to quit. A lot of people quit cold turkey – they stop completely, all at once, with no medicines or nicotine replacement.

Some may start by using less tobacco for a few weeks before they quit. This is gradual withdrawal – cutting down on the number of times you dip/chew each day or deciding to dip/chew only at certain times of the day. This way, you slowly reduce the amount of nicotine in your body. It makes sense to cut down before your quit date in order to reduce withdrawal symptoms, but this can be hard to do.

Tobacco lozenges and pouches

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ruled that lozenges, strips, and sticks that contain tobacco and small pouches of tobacco that you hold in your mouth are types of oral tobacco products much like snuff and chew, and are not smoking cessation aids.

Other forms of nicotine not approved by the FDA

Nicotine has been added to drinks, lollipops, straws, and lip balms and marketed as quit tools. None of these are approved by the FDA, and, in fact, some are illegal in the US. None have been shown to help people quit smoking. They also pose a risk for children and pets if they are not well-labeled, carefully stored, and disposed of safely.

Home remedies and non-tobacco options

There are products made from “natural” things like tea, clover, and mint that are said to help people quit using smokeless tobacco. Some people also recommend cayenne pepper or coffee ground pouches. Often these fake dip and fake tobacco products can be bought in cans and pouches. Homeopathic aids and herbal supplements may also be suggested as quit methods. Because herbs are marketed as dietary supplements (not drugs), they don’t need FDA approval to be sold. This means that the manufacturers don’t have to prove they work, or even that they’re safe.

Be sure to look closely at the label of any product that claims it can help you stop tobacco. No dietary supplement has been proven to help people quit. Most of these supplements are combinations of herbs, but not nicotine. They have no proven track record of helping people stop using smokeless tobacco.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Carim-Todd L, Mitchell SH, Oken BS. Mind-body practices: an alternative, drug-free treatment for smoking cessation? A systematic review of the literature. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2013;132(3):399-410.

Ebbert JO, Elrashidi MY, Stead LF. Interventions for smokeless tobacco use cessation. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015 Oct 26;(10):CD004306.

Last Medical Review: January 11, 2017 Last Revised: January 11, 2017

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