DEAR ABBY: When I was in high school, I used to smoke a pack of cigarettes a day. After I graduated, I went to work in a nuclear plant where smoking wasn't permitted, so as a safe alternative, I started dipping snuff.
Well, it wasn't as safe as I thought it was, because I became addicted. Dipping snuff is the first thing I do in the morning and the last thing I do before I go to bed.
I've noticed that my gums are receding and my teeth are spreading apart. I now have a permanent dent in my mouth between the cheek and gums where the snuff sets.
When I see my friends who are beginning to dip, I show them what's happening to me, but it doesn't seem to impress them. Even though I am now so addicted I'm doing two cans a day, I try to get them to quit. I guess some people will have to learn the hard way, like I did.
I hope this letter stops at least one person from dipping. It's just as bad a habit as smoking. Maybe worse. -- ONE HOPELESS GUY
DEAR HOPELESS: It's commendable that you are trying to save others, but how about starting with yourself?
Call the American Cancer Society (the toll-free number is (800) 227-2345) and ask what kind of program is available for people who are hooked on dipping snuff -- then join it.
If you can kick the habit, you will make an excellent spokesperson for the former "big dippers." Nobody can inspire others who are hooked on a habit and want to quit like the person who's been there.