Why Do People Start Chewing Tobacco?

man walking on road in the woods

Chewing tobacco has its roots in both native North and South American as well as European traditions. Scandinavians actually chewed “snus,” the Scandinavian term for snuff. When Europeans settled in America, the trend continued.

Historically, the reason why people started chewing tobacco was simply because it was pleasant. Scientific evidence about the health effects of chewing tobacco didn’t exist, and so the practice found its way into American traditions such as baseball.

Now, with knowledge about the negative health effects of smokeless tobacco being so prevalent, it seems counterintuitive that people would continue to pick up the practice. And, indeed, it is very unlikely that an adult older than 25 will start to use tobacco. However, it turns out that a knowledge gap exists among younger people. This leaves them vulnerable to becoming addicted.

According to one study that surveyed over five thousand students in Texas, of all the children sampled, only 40% felt that smokeless tobacco was very harmful. Data from the American Cancer Society highlights the danger of being so unaware of smokeless tobacco’s harmful effects. According to them, use of smokeless tobacco was higher in younger age groups (18-25), at about 5.5%. Even more shocking, use of smokeless tobacco among high school kids is even higher – 11% of male high school students had used smokeless tobacco.

According to the American Cancer Society, certain factors seem to be linked to whether young people will use tobacco, including:

  • Examples Set By Parents
  • Peer Pressure
  • Local Lifestyles and Fashions
  • Economic Conditions
  • Examples Set by Teachers and School Staff
  • Presence of Gangs
  • Use of Illegal Drugs and Alcohol

It seems clear that most people start chewing tobacco in their younger years, and this addiction sometimes follows them into their adult lives. This also seems to provide more evidence as to why quitting is so difficult: old habits (especially ones picked up in youth) are hard to break.

Here at Dipstop, we wish you the best of luck in your quitting efforts. Whether you started young, like most people, or picked up the habit later in life, we know it can be difficult to stop. Check out our products or our quit guide for more help.