The Great American Spit Out challenges Veterans to quit smokeless tobacco


If you use smokeless tobacco products and have tried or considered quitting before, let VA help you leave dip or chew behind for good. The Great American Spit Out on Feb. 20 is the perfect time to prioritize your health and blaze a new trail free of dip cans, chew pouches and spit cups.

Using dip or chew increases the risk of oral cancers and cancer of the pancreas and esophagus. These products also cause your gums to pull away from teeth in the area where tobacco is held, and often lead to painful sores and decay in exposed roots.

VA encourages all Veterans to toss their smokeless tobacco products. You can start celebrating healthier teeth and gums, a boost in energy levels and a reduced overall cancer risk. This video is a great resource for learning more about quitting smokeless tobacco, and these VA tools can help you quit:

  • Counseling and Medication: Counseling and medication fit together like pieces of a puzzle. When combined, counseling can help you identify and address the behaviors and triggers that lead to tobacco use; medication can help relieve your cravings and physical symptoms. Learn more about how these pieces fit together by watching the Tobacco and Health: Counseling and Medication video and talking with your VA health care provider.
  • Quit VETQuit VET is VA’s quitline, created with Veterans in mind. It’s staffed by trained counselors who help Veterans through all phases of the quit journey — including creating a quit plan and providing support after a slip. To get started with Quit VET, call 1-855-QUIT-VET (1-855-784-8838) between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday (except federal holidays).
  • SmokefreeVETVeterans who are quitting tobacco can receive daily text messages of support and encouragement by texting VET to 47848 or visiting They can also reach out when they are tempted to use tobacco by texting keywords such as URGE or DIPPED to 47848.

Celebrate your accomplishment

After the Great American Spit Out, smile brighter and bigger, knowing that your teeth, gums, heart and overall health are better. Then, celebrate your accomplishment with your family and friends. And don’t forget — in the difficult moments, VA is standing by with the support and resources you need to continue on your path free of dip or chew.

Kim Hamlett-Berry, Ph.D., is the national program director for Tobacco & Health: Policy and Programs in VHA’s Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention.


VA Staff Contributor


  1. Steven Minarovich    

    I quit 24 years ago, on the day I landed a job as a sixth grade teacher. Never went back, although I will smell a can of Copenhagen now & then.

    I used what is called ” Replacement Theory.”
    I still keep a spittoon in my truck, but now I brush my teeth many times a day… especially while driving!!

    Good luck!
    Stay strong!


  2. Paul Ahearn    

    Our local AA meetings are proud to serve a number of multiple addictions. We always let the newbies figure out their own “Statement of Identity”. Alcoholism with an emphasis on the “ism” is a complex mental illness that patients “show” a variety of their harmful “solutions”. I’m married with 2 kids, 3 grandchildren , semi-retired with 29 years of recovery. NEVER perfect, but always continue to peacefully serve. Godspeed

  3. Jerry L Hobson    

    hi, been chewing for more than 15 years. used to smoke until I was 50. I tried everything to quit smoking, this is harder. maybe I will try next month. just lowered my a1c from 10.5 to 7.6. I eliminated all crabs (donuts, Tim bits, bread and pasta

  4. Robert Jones    

    I like this program…thank you

  5. Stuart Stephen    

    I began dipping my first road march in BCT 1977. I quit 3906 days ago. Using fake dip helped me tremendously. It could help others

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