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The Science Behind Breaking Bad Habits & Starting Good Ones
Chewing tobacco is a habit, and one that you’re ready to quit. But before you can break a habit, you have to recognize the physiological science that powers it.

Once you understand the invisible forces behind your addiction, you can begin to recognize them in action and proactively loosen their grip on your life.

Keep reading for a science-backed explanation of how habits work, followed by a closer look at how Grinds can help you quit your chewing tobacco habit.

How Habits Work

Behavioral scientist Jason Hreha defines habits as “reliable solutions to recurring problems in our environment.” When you face a problem over and over again, your brain starts to automate the process of solving it. Repeat something enough times and it becomes automatic. You might refer to this as muscle memory.

Tying a tie. The route you take to work. Playing a guitar riff. Changing the oil in your vehicle. These are all examples of this natural phenomenon in action. If you do any of those things, chances are good you do them automatically without conscious thought. In fact, you could probably hold a conversation with someone while you’re performing those tasks. The same science is at play with your chewing tobacco habit.

All habits can be broken down into four stages:

A trigger, or a trigger, is an indication that you are close to a reward. Triggers are usually related to your environment and activities. If you always take a dip first thing after arriving to work, then walking through the office doors is a trigger to your mind that a reward (nicotine) is nearby.

Alerting your mind that a reward is close leads to a craving. Cravings are the motivational force behind all habits. Interestingly, what you crave is not the habit itself, but the change in state that it delivers. It’s not the tobacco or nicotine that you crave, but the alertness and relaxation that it delivers.

The third step is the response, which is the action you take. This one is pretty straightforward: you pull out your can and take a dip.

Finally, the response delivers a reward, which achieves two things:

  1. It satisfies your craving. You take the dip, and moments later feel calmer, focused and ready to work.
  2. It teaches us which actions are worth remembering in the future. If it satisfied your craving for a change in state this time, chances are good it will work again in the future.

James Clear succinctly summarizes this process in his book Atomic Habits:

The trigger is about noticing the reward.
The craving is about wanting the reward.
The response is about obtaining the reward.

How Grinds Will Help You Quit

Now that you understand the science behind your tobacco habit, let’s talk about how Grinds will help you alter, and eventually drop, that habit. Later in the 7-Day Pre-Quit Program we’ll discuss how to identify triggers and track cravings. For now, let’s focus on response and reward.

If you have ever tried to quit cold turkey, you know how hard it can be. It’s hard because your brain wants you to take action in response to the craving, but instead, you try to resist those impulses. Because that resistance takes a lot of mental and emotional energy, you achieve an undesirable change in state (exhausted and cranky) and eventually fall back into the easier habit that delivers a desirable change in state.

Instead of going cold turkey and not reaching for anything, on this upcoming quit try reaching for a can of Grinds. You still get to respond to your craving with an action (putting in a coffee pouch) and your action delivers a reward: a flavor you enjoy and a change in state from the caffeine.

Here are a few more tips and tricks for using Grinds as your tobacco alternative:

Make it easy. Part of making a new habit stick is making it easy and attractive. That’s why you should have a can of Grinds available anywhere you sit: at your desk, on the couch, by your bed, in the car and so on. Take advantage of our flavor varieties and keep a different flavor in each location. (Not sure which flavors you should try? Take our quiz below! )

Start cutting back now. Try leaving the tin or pouch behind when you go from place to place, or start to intentionally curb the amount you use daily. Consider switching to dip with lower levels of nicotine before you reach your quit date. This will make the withdrawals much easier to manage. You might even try tricking your mind by putting Grinds pouches into your old can, or carrying a half-and-half mixture.

Practice quitting. It may sound silly to practice quitting, but it lets you test the waters without committing to swimming across the pond. We recommend using Smokefree.gov’s text message-based Practice Quit, which helps you get comfortable with not chewing for short periods of time (e.g. 1, 3 or 5 days). It’s designed for smokers, but the messages about cravings and nicotine withdrawal will still apply to you.

Distract yourself from cravings with a small energy boost. We think 25 mg (or 50mg) is the perfect dose of caffeine to kill tobacco cravings and provide a consistent, moderate energy boost. You don’t want to be bouncing off the walls while you’re finishing up a little yard work or wrapping up a project for the day; you need a quick, sustained burst of focus and ability.

Sign-up for a Grinds subscription. Make quitting easy and automatic when you subscribe to our auto-ship program. Pick your flavor, choose your frequency and save 10% when you subscribe.

Finding The Right Flavor

Take our Flavor Finder quiz below to get a set of personalized flavor recommendations. Then, estimate how much dip you use in a week, and make sure you have enough ammunition to last at least one full week to get through the first phase of your quit. Use this single use promo code FIRST15 to get 15% Off when you stock up!

Today's To-Do
Stock up on Grinds for your upcoming Quit