Tobacco-Free Living
Great American Spit Out / Tobacco Cessation 

The Great American Spit Out occurs in February of each year in conjunction with Through With Chew Week as a means to raise awareness of the dangers associated with smokeless tobacco.  Unfortunately, the myths concerning smokeless tobacco are still in existence, giving tobacco users a false hope. 

The next Great American Spit Out is February 19, 2015. 

"Quit for a day or quit for good."

Some quit tips are:

  • Avoid triggers, situations that urge you to use tobacco.
  • Chew sugar-free gum or eat sunflower seeds as substitutes for tobacco. 
  • Delay responding to an urge.

   Get the facts

  • Even though this form of tobacco is not smoked, the harmful effects of smokeless tobacco are potentially serious.
  • Smokeless tobacco increases the risk of oral cancer, which includes lip, tongue, cheeks, gums and the roof of the mouth.
  • Constant exposure to the tobacco juices causes cancer of the esophagus, pharynx, larynx, stomach, bladder and pancreas.
  • Gum recession, disease and tooth decay have also been associated with tobacco use.

Chewing smokeless tobacco contains 28 carcinogens (cancer-causing agents). The most harmful carcinogens are tobacco – specific nitrosamines. However, it is the nicotine in these products that cause the addiction. Nicotine absorption in smokeless tobacco products is 3 to 4 times that of smoking tobacco products and its slow absorption allows for a longer length of stay in the bloodstream.

 Operation Fresh Start - Pitch the Dip External link (

The Great American Spit Out (GASpO) is a great time to step up to the challenge of quitting smokeless tobacco.  Stay dip-free for 24 hours and get started on a tobacco-free future. Also get the facts  External link  that urge service members to leave smokeless tobacco behind.

Read more at the  official website of the U.S. Department of Defense-TRICARE® tobacco cessation campaign. External link

Get help with quitting

Call National Cancer Institute, 1-877-44U-QUIT (1-877-448-7848) 

Take Dip Out of the Ballgame Bobby Valentine, a former manager of the New York Mets speaks out about smokeless tobacco and the culture that it has on baseball. Imagine - if the baseball industry can change their culture than surely we can change also! New York Times articleExternal link.

Great American Spitout Poster
Click on poster to view in the
Health Information Products eCatalog

Tobacco jeopardizes the military by reducing the overall performance of the Soldier.

Common concerns are military readiness, war fighting ability and overall work performance. To combat smokeless tobacco use, several organizations, to include the American Academy of Otolaryngologists, have developed similar campaigns such as “Through with Chew” in conjunction with the Great American Spit Out. “Through With Chew,” a one week smokeless awareness campaign, also occurs in February and has a website that provides a variety of additional tools that help with putting a stop to smokeless tobacco use. 

If you or someone else that you know uses smokeless tobacco, here are a few steps to take either on the Great American Spit Out or as part of the quit plan:

Hand holding a can of chewing tobacco·   Contact your healthcare provider to let him/her know of your decision to quit. There are medications that can help, if necessary.

·   Chew sugarless gum or have sugarless candy on hand for when you have an urge.

·   Drink plenty of water and use a straw to help with the need to chew.

·   Create your personalized  “To Do Lists” for each day in advance or simply keep busy when you have an urge.

·   Consider relaxation walks as part of your lunch time or work breaks.

·   Have an emergency support plan in place. Make Everyone Proud, also known as UCANQUIT2, has counselors available via telephone with supporting resources online.

·   Call a friend that will support your efforts of being tobacco free. 


Use The Great American Spit Out as the day that you say “no” to tobacco and “yes” to a healthier you.

Through with Chew External link                                                                                                                                    

Through with Chew offers special tools for educators and businesses, and also supports and promotes national Through with Chew week each February.

MyLastDip External link                                                                                                                                                       My Last Dip is a web-based intervention program designed to help chewing tobacco users quit for good. Developed by researchers with over 30 years' experience in smokeless tobacco research, these programs are funded by a research grant from the National Cancer Institute (U. S. National Institutes of Health). FREE and available 24 hours a day.

Just for TEEN Chewers

Cancer Without the Smoke  External link                                                                                                                                                                             Many young men think they'll avoid cancer if they chew tobacco instead of smoking it. But the disease is more insidious than they imagine.

Smokeless Tobacco: Challenges of Working with the Teen Population External link                                                                  Case study on talking to a teen about use of smokeless tobacco. (Wake Forest University School of Medicine and Northwest AHEC)

More Smokeless Tobacco Cessation Information

American Cancer Society: Smokeless Tobacco External link                                                                                  
Learn about smokeless tobacco and get the tips to help users quit.

National Cancer Institute: Smokeless Tobacco and Cancer Fact Sheet External link                                          
Factsheet on Smokeless Tobacco- provides brief answers to some of the most common questions regarding smokeless tobacco. 

Mayo Clinic, Chewing tobacco: Not a risk-free alternative to cigarettes External link                                            
Smokeless tobacco comes in many forms.  Learn the different types of smokeless tobacco and the health risk associated with being a user. 

DoD Quit Tobacco Make Everyone Proud Campaign (UCAN QUIT2) External link                                                
specific tobacco cessation initiative. Learn why "Smokeless tobacco is not harmless tobacco".

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research: Smokeless Tobacco External link                                   
Excellent spit tobacco information from the federal government for healthcare providers and spit tobacco users (see links on website to A Guide for Quitting) 

American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons External link                                                                  
Information about the risk of tobacco use in the development of oral cancer.