A word about success rates for quitting smokeless tobacco

Before you sign up for a tobacco cessation class or program, you may wonder about its success rate. Success rates are hard to figure out for many reasons. First, not all programs define success in the same way. Does success mean that a person is not using tobacco at the end of the program? After 3 months? 5 months? 1 year? If a program you’re considering claims a certain success rate, ask for more details on how success is defined and exactly how they were able to confirm the rate.

The truth is that a good program to help you quit tobacco may give you more of an edge than trying to quit on your own. But like other programs that treat addictions, they often have fairly low success rates. That doesn’t mean they are not worthwhile, or that you should be discouraged. Your own success in quitting and staying tobacco-free is what really counts, and you have some control over that. Even if you don’t succeed the first few times, keep trying. You can learn from your mistakes so that you’ll be ready for those pitfalls next time.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team
Our team is made up of doctors and master’s-prepared nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Last Medical Review: February 20, 2014 Last Revised: June 23, 2016

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