Quit Dipping Tobacco Timeline
Maybe you’ve tried to quit smokeless tobacco before. Why is quitting and staying quit so hard for so many people? The answer is mainly nicotine.
Nicotine is a drug found naturally in tobacco, which is as addictive as heroin or cocaine. Over time, a person becomes physically dependent on and emotionally addicted to nicotine. The physical dependence causes unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when you try to quit. The emotional and mental dependence (addiction) make it hard to stay away from nicotine after you quit. Studies have shown that tobacco users must deal with both the physical and mental dependence to quit and stay quit.
Where nicotine goes and how long it stays
Nicotine enters the bloodstream from the mouth or nose and is carried to every part of your body. It affects many parts of the body, including your heart and blood vessels, your hormones, the way your body uses food (your metabolism), and your brain. During pregnancy, nicotine freely crosses the placenta and has been found in amniotic fluid and the umbilical cord blood of newborn infants.
Different factors affect how quickly the body gets rid of nicotine and its by-products. Regular oral tobacco users will still have nicotine and/or its by-products, such as cotinine, in their bodies for about 3 or 4 days after stopping.
How nicotine hooks tobacco users
Nicotine causes pleasant feelings and distracts the user from unpleasant feelings. This makes the tobacco user want to use more. Nicotine also acts as a kind of depressant by interfering with the flow of information between nerve cells.
As the nervous system adapts to nicotine, tobacco users tend to increase the amount of tobacco they use. This raises the amount of nicotine in their blood, and more tobacco is needed to get the same effect. This is called tolerance. Over time, the tobacco user reaches a certain nicotine level and then will need to keep up the usage to keep the level of nicotine within a comfortable range.