Dried fruit of any kind can be pretty dangerous, as it is VERY high in sugars. Especially when you're starting out, it can derail your efforts to make the switch over to fat-burning mode. Later on, you can throw a little bit of dried fruit in a salad or something, and it won't hurt
Personally, I can't have that sort of thing in the house with me, since I haven't learned how to control myself with it.
Sugar-free gum is something which most here would frown on. Artifical sweeteners are not good for you in the first place; and there's evidence that having a sweet taste in your mouth, even if it's not really sugar, can raise your insulin level (maybe in anticipation of sugar intake?). That being said, I now what you're saying about stress levels; I have been known to chew it on occasion. Eventually, it would be a good thing to find other ways to lower your stress, like getting enough sleep and exercising properly...I'm still working on that part, myself.