Tobacco

Women and Smokeless Tobacco Use: More Than You Think

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Female SymbolAlthough more than 90 percent of smokeless tobacco users in the United States are male, a substantial number of women also use smokeless tobacco products. Studies show that women have a harder time trying to quit smokeless and have less success with abstinence programs than men. There are many proposed reasons for this:

Nicotine has different effects on mood in women compared to men. Women who quit may have greater anxiety and stress than men who quit. Women are not as physically dependent on nicotine as men, but they are more addicted to the actual behavior of smokeless, which is the more powerful deterrent to quitting. This may be the reason why nicotine replacement, which only reduces cravings, tends not to be as effective in women. Women may fear weight gain after quitting more than men. Certain phases in the menstrual cycle may reduce the response to drugs that are used to help women quit.

Men may be less supportive than women in helping their partners to quit. Women trying to quit may miss the feeling of control associated with smokeless tobacco more than men.

There’s a perceived social disapproval of women using smokeless tobacco. In fact, 38 percent of the women in the study said they could not use smokeless tobacco in the presence of certain people, and another 25 percent cited social disapproval as a drawback. These social concerns may reduce opportunities for women to use smokeless tobacco within their social circle. In spite of these drawbacks, a significant percentage of women in the study said the relaxing and calming effects and pleasure they associate with smokeless tobacco use are advantages of using these products.

Identifying factors associated with smokeless tobacco use by women and their current patterns of use could generate ways to prevent and treat smokeless tobacco use among women, the study states. “The data from this research could help target some of the educational and prevention messages that we should be giving to women.” However, first we have to make women smokeless tobacco users aware that other women use smokeless tobacco products and that they are not abnormal, so they are willing to seek help,” a reseacher says. “Women may be embarrassed about admitting smokeless tobacco use because the general perception is that smokeless tobacco use is socially undesirable, and women don’t use it,” the researcher speculates.

Among the unattractive features of smokeless tobacco use is the need to spit tobacco juice from time to time and dislodge particles of loose tobacco that get trapped between the teeth. This disadvantage of smokeless tobacco use was the one most frequently cited by women who did participated in a study of female smokeless tobacco users who weren’t seeking treatment, conducted by Dr. Hatsuki and her colleagues.

Information collected from several websites.

If you are a female wishing to quit this addiction, know that you’re not alone. Please realize you’re not nasty for using this type of nicotine. Try not to be embarrassed. I know it’s so very hard. I’ve been there! It’s taken 20 + years for me to finally say, “I am a woman Copenhagen user.”

Also realize even if you are not ready to quit, I am here to support you in an effort to prove just how important you are. Take the first step. And just maybe more will follow.

-Nickie

Join the discussion at http://forum.killthecan.org/

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