The Great American Spit Out is a holiday without tobacco to raise the awareness about the dangers of using smokeless tobacco like chewing and to help others quit. It takes place every Thursday in the 3rd week of February.
History of The Great American Spit Out
The purpose of Great American Spit Out is to raise awareness about the harmful effects of smokeless tobacco. Users must quit smoking for at least a day, with the ultimate goal of quitting for good. The day is especially geared towards military personnel, where smokeless tobacco use is higher than the general population. The Great American Spit Out happens during Through with Chew week.
Smokeless tobacco comes in many forms, such as chewing tobacco, plugging, and snuff. Snuff is a finely ground tobacco and have dry or moist type. Moist snuff is the most popular smokeless tobacco in the United States, followed by loose chewing tobacco. Most smokeless cigarettes are spit out, but some are not. Snus is a moist inhaler that is gaining popularity that doesn't require spitting. Smokeless cigarettes often come in a variety of flavors that are more appealing to children.
Abrasives, added nicotine, and thousands of chemicals are also included in smokeless tobacco. About thirty of the chemicals are carcinogens, including lead, arsenic, mercury, formaldehyde and the radioactive polonium-210, found in tobacco fertilizers. The most toxic chemicals are nitrosamines (TSNs). These chemicals are specific to tobacco and are formed when growing, curing, fermenting and aging tobacco. They are at much higher levels in smokeless tobacco than in cigarettes. A single dip of chewing tobacco has the same amount of nicotine as three to four cigarettes, and someone who inhales two tins a week will get the same amount of nicotine for smoking a pack and a half a day.
Smokeless tobacco harms the mouth, teeth and throat and puts the user at risk for other health problems. Early problems can include discolored teeth and bad breath. Receding gums and gum disease can follow, leading to tooth decay and eventually tooth loss. More than half of users develop a precancerous lesion called Leukoplakia within the first three years of use. Cancer can develop within five years of using smokeless tobacco. Common cancers include the mouth, esophagus, and pancreas. Users also have a higher risk of heart disease and stroke. If used during pregnancy, there is a higher chance of stillbirth or premature delivery, and the baby's brain development may be affected. For all those reasons, today smokeless tobacco was pulled for the last time.
How to celebrate The Great American Spit Out
If you use smokeless tobacco, you should quit at least for the day, but the ultimate goal is to quit completely. Set a date when you will quit smoking or spit smokeless tobacco for the last time today. There are many online resources that can help you quit smoking. There is also online support for military personnel hoping to retire. If you don't use smokeless tobacco, mark the day by raising awareness about its harmful effects. Notify anyone you know who chews tobacco during the day. Encourage them to quit and give them information about smokeless tobacco that they don't know. However, make sure to be supportive and not confrontational, as it will be difficult for them to take the necessary steps to succeed.
ObservedThe Great American Spit Out has been observed Thursday of the third full week in February.
Thursday, February 20th, 2020
Thursday, February 25th, 2021
Thursday, February 24th, 2022
Thursday, February 23rd, 2023
Thursday, February 22nd, 2024