According to the American Cancer Society, about 8.2 million people use smokeless tobacco, which includes snuff and chewing tobacco. Younger people tend to use these tobacco products more than the older population; of the people polled, more than 5% of individuals between the ages of 18 and 25 reported that they were current smokeless tobacco users in 2011. The previous year, 1.3 million people aged 12 and older started using smokeless tobacco, and 44% of these users were younger than 18 the first time they tried smokeless tobacco.

The Oral Cancer Foundation asserts that this year alone, 42,000 Americans will be diagnosed with mouth or pharyngeal cancer. About 8,000 people will die from the disease, which is about 1 person every hour, 24 hours a day. The death rate for mouth cancer is particularly high because it is not often diagnosed until the late stages. It’s important to quit dipping as soon as possible if you use smokeless tobacco, as the Medicine Net website asserts that tobacco use is the number one cause of mouth cancer.

To lower your risk of cancer and other sickness by becoming an ex-tobacco user, there are several things you can do. You’ll need to be clear about the reasons you want to quit. This may include taking a look at your budget to see how much money you could be saving by kicking the habit, or considering your children or loved ones, who want you to be healthy and live a long, fulfilling life. If you’re starting to develop gum or tooth problems as a result of dipping tobacco, you may simply want to quit dipping to preserve and improve your smile.

Pick a date that you want to be completely tobacco-free and mark it on your calendar. You can choose your birthday, a holiday or simply a month or two after your start date. Plan a celebration on the date you officially quit to remind yourself that you never want to be a tobacco user again, so that you can continue to reduce the likelihood that you’ll develop mouth cancer.

So if you haven’t thought about quitting chewing tobacco, you should.

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