The decision to quit using nicotine is a personal decision. It may be inspired by a friend or a loved one, but in the end, nicotine addiction is something that affects the user every moment of every day. Family drove Ric Wilson’s decision but he knew that it was he who would have to find the strength and desire to end his nicotine habit. Making the decision to stop doing something that provides you with a sense of calmness after a long and stressful day, is not an easy one. Ric is quick to credit the love for his wife and daughters as the reason he chose to stop using nicotine.
The story began when Ric was thirteen years old; it was a time of excitement exploring the great outdoors. It was a time of little league baseball games and fishing trips. The three short months of summer developed a lifestyle that would last until Ric reached the age of thirty-six. This was the beginning of Ric’s addiction to nicotine through rubbing snuff.
Ric, a husband and a father of two young girls has a strong commitment to family, that commitment is what guided him through his nicotine withdrawal. Ric rubbed snuff for twenty-three years. He estimates that he rubbed a can of snuff every other day. He remembers awakening in the middle of the night and running to the local gas station for a can of snuff. He remembers the urgency and panic when they did not have his brand and the drive of desperation to the next gas station. Ric would start his day with a rub of snuff; it was a good feeling and relaxed him. Suddenly without warning a morning pleasantry became an inconvenience. One morning as he lay in bed, he pulled away from the morning kisses of his daughters. He had a rub of snuff under his lip and the girls quickly groaned, “Yuck Daddy, snuff.” Ric’s wife would tell the girls, “Snuff is bad, tell Daddy, no more snuff.” Soon every time he would reach for a rub the girls would say, “No more snuff daddy, that’s bad.” Ric could not defend himself to his daughters; he too knew it was bad. He remembers a commercial that made an impact, a young person standing alone saying, “I remember my father, he was my best friend, and he is no longer with us because he smoked”. Ric wanted to welcome the morning hugs and kisses for a lifetime so he chose to quit.
His family practitioner prescribed transdermal nicotine patches. Eventually a mild anti-anxiety medication was prescribed to aid in the process. Ric makes a point to stress the fact that although the road was not smooth, the support of his family and co-workers helped him beat his addiction to nicotine. He no longer requires assistance with his addiction, but admits there are times that he has a desire to rub, however he now has the willpower to abstain. It has been close to two years since Ric has rubbed snuff.
He laughs as he remembers his first weeks of withdrawal and his wife’s frequent suggestions to take a ride as she handed him his car keys. Ric cannot remember if the rides really helped him, but he knows they made his wife feel much better. The love he has for family is what made him decide to quit and their support and patience is what made him successful.
Researchers believe that nicotine is a mood and behavior altering, psychoactive and is abusable. It is a multi-system pharmacological agent that has the addictive potential comparable to alcohol, cocaine and morphine. It contains over nineteen known cancer-causing chemicals. Spit tobacco contains formaldehyde (embalming fluid) and polonium (nuclear waste).
Ric’s advice to people who want to stop using nicotine: make a firm decision, gain the support of your family and make use of employer programs that assist in the withdrawal process, the longer you wait to make this decision the harder it is to quit. Ric is an employee of Southeastern Med, a facility and campus, which will be entirely tobacco/smoke free as of May 1st. Southeastern Med is currently offering smoking cessation classes to any interested associate and the medical center urges anyone with the desire to quit to contact their local health department. The Guernsey County Health Department currently offers smoking cessation programs to the public. Another resource to assist with quitting is the Ohio Tobacco Quit Line, which can be contacted by calling 800-934-4840.