How to Quit Snus
In this article we will guide you through the various stages of quitting nicotine and give you some tips on how to be successful in your endeavour.
Quitting Nicotine Timeline
Day 1-3: Nicotine Withdrawal
Many experience dizziness, nausea, concentration difficulties and difficulties sleeping. The dizziness comes as a result of lowered blood pressure. Nicotine causes constriction of the blood vessels and without it your blood pressure is lowered, potentially leading to feelings of dizziness.
You can ease the symptoms by making sure you get enough fluids, salts and sugar. Fluid replacement products can effectively be used for this and some people find that nicotine free pouches or chewing gum can help with relieving the symptoms. You might also experience a change of taste and smell. These initial symptoms usually subside within 2 days, so just hang in there, things will get easier.
Day 4–5: Reduced Nicotine Cravings and Headaches
Some will experience headaches that can reoccur during the first couple of months, but this generally improves over time. The mental cravings are often a bit harder to kick, so it’s important to stay strong and have a strategy for dealing with them when they do occur.
Day 6-7: Sugar cravings, headaches and mood swings
Nicotine works as an appetite suppressant, so quitting can naturally lead to increased appetite and weight gain. Studies also show that nicotine effects insulin and blood sugar levels, which is believed to trigger sugar cravings when quitting. (Source: https://www.verywellmind.com/snacking-and-weight-gain-when-you-quit-smoking-2824528)
The cravings can often come suddenly, so it is good to always have a healthy snack at hand; such as fruits or berries. Eating regularly and keeping a healthy diet also keeps your blood sugar at an even level, lessening the sugar cravings.
Apart from headaches, increased appetite and sugar cravings; mood swings are also common. But on the brighter side; after about a week the nicotine will completely be out of your system and your sleep should have improved.
1-2 weeks: Irritability and Unstable Blood Sugar
Remember to be proud and applaud yourself every time you manage to resist using nicotine. And be aware that the time between the cravings will increase steadily.
4 weeks: Improved Oral Health
There might be certain occasions where you particularly crave a pouch, such as after dinner or out having a pint with friends. It is important to have strategies to avoid or cope with these situations. If alcohol is weakening your self-discipline, it might be better to avoid going to the pub or having that glass of wine for dinner at this time.
4-6 weeks: 40-Day Crisis
It is also common to still be battling mood swings, sugar cravings and headaches. Make sure to be prepared for this and explain your situation to family, friends and co-workers, who might think that you have already “made it”
Remind yourself why you wanted to quit in the first place and try to find your initial motivation. Using nicotine free pouches might also help.
7-8 weeks: An Easier Period
12–13 weeks: Nicotine Free Forever?
10 Tips to Succeed Quitting Snus
• Be prepared – The better informed you are on what to expect when quitting nicotine, the better you are equipped to succeed. Reading this guide will have given you a great start!
• Find your reason and stay motivated - Whatever your reason is, be it health or financial. Keep reminding yourself of why you wanted to quit.
• Seek support from your loved ones – Tell the people you are close to that you are trying to quit. They might be able to give emotional support and informing them also helps them understand the difficulties you are going through. There are also support groups and mobile applications such as the NHS quit smoking app, that can also be helpful when quitting snus.
• Avoid stress – Nicotine has a relaxing effect and many use snus to unwind. Cutting it out might therefore initially make you more vulnerable to stress. Try other ways of relaxing such as exercise, listening to music, a nice massage or maybe a new hobby. Try to avoid stressful situations during the first weeks after quitting.
• Stay away from alcohol and other triggers – Alcohol weakens the ability to control ourselves, so try to avoid or limit your alcohol consumption while trying to quit. Try doing something else on the occasions you normally take a pouch; be it with your tea, waiting for the bus or after dinner. For example, chewing gum, brushing your teeth, taking a walk or texting a friend.
• Stay active - Exercise can help control nicotine cravings and ease withdrawal symptoms. It does not have to be exhausting or high intensity. Even mild exercise, such as taking a walk or gardening helps. The calories you burn will also prevent weight gain.
• Eat lots of healthy foods – Do not try to diet or count calories while giving up snus. Restricting too many things in your life at once can easily backfire. Although a healthy diet will make it easier for your body to cope with nicotine withdrawal and keep your blood sugar at an even level. Keep it simple and eat lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and protein.
• Reward yourself – One of the perks of quitting nicotine is all the money you will save. Set a goal and spend some of the savings on something fun – maybe a holiday or visit to a nice restaurant?
• Fill that void – Many who try to quit snus will miss the feeling of having something under their lip. There are nicotine-free pouches that can be used as a replacement.
• DO NOT GIVE UP! – Most people try several times before managing to quit for good. Don’t be discouraged if you should happen to relapse. Try to learn from the situation that made you slip up and set a new quit within a month.