Quit Smoking Tips


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Helping Smokers Quit

Quitting smoking is often very difficult. Nicotine addiction equals that of heroine. Smokers may rely on tobacco to soothe them, fight boredom, socialize and often plan their whole day around smoking breaks.

Research has found that helping relationships can greatly influence the success rate of a smoker trying to stop. Many people nag, lay guilt, try to scare or may police friends or family members who smoke or those contemplating or actually quitting. Is this behavior helpful?

Not usually. Lecturing another person rarely increases their motivation to undertake change. Whether it is quitting smoking or committing to exercising regularly, behavioral change often evokes strong emotions and fears. In fact, nagging may create defensiveness and bad feelings which may actually erode motivation to change.

Smokers are used to negative comments today as smoking has very suddenly become an unpopular and prejudicial activity. Helping relationships should be just that; helpful. People undergoing the stress of change need positive, caring people who at least try and understand their frame of reference.

Betty is an accountant whom I interviewed recently. She told me that quitting smoking was akin to losing a best friend. “I actually felt like grieving”, she remarked. “I lost my best means of coping with stress”. I asked her who helped her to succeed. “My husband was fabulously supportive”. When I asked her what he specifically did to help, her reply was that “he just listened”.

Just listening is a skill that only a small amount of the population possesses. Many people can’t just listen-they have to fix others’ problems, tell their own story or give platitudes and clichés. This is talking and acting, not listening. Our intentions may be noble; we truly may care, but talk and action might not be helpful in many situations.

1. Listen more than you talk.

2. Be non-judgemental.

3. Reflect back what the speaker is saying.

4. Get consent before suggesting solutions or giving help.

5. Validate strong emotions or feeling.

6. Avoid creating resistance.

7. Avoid giving platitudes-they do not console.

8. Put yourself in their shoes.

9. Resistance usually comes from us, not the other person.

10. Cherish your friends and family.

By Todd Gale, Smoking Cessation Coordinator

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