How to Get Your Loved One to Quit Smoking
Although the days of “Smoking or non-smoking?” in restaurants are long gone, there is no question that not everyone has kicked the habit. While there is no denying that recent studies show that smoking poses many serious health risks and unfavorable side effects, there are still many people that find comfort in the occasional drag of a cigarette or puff on a tasty cigar.
Trying to get a loved one to quit smoking once and for all can be a daunting task, and it goes without saying that you may be walking on eggshells the entire time you’re trying to instill change. Even though the health benefits of being a non-smoker seriously outweigh the physical tolls brought on by inhaling nicotine and other chemicals, there can still be a good amount of resistance when the topic of quitting arises. Below you will find some tips to help you and your loved one take the necessary steps in quitting smoking.
6 Tips for Supporting the Quitter
1. Be Understanding
Many of our parents and loved ones picked up smoking when they were young, so quitting would mean altering years of addiction. It's important to keep open mind and know that there will be cravings and various challenges associated with quitting smoking.
2. Ask Questions
Everyone will have a different experience when they quit smoking. Make a point to ask questions that won’t receive one-word answers such as:
- What made you pick up smoking?
- Are there any stressors that make you want a cigarette?
- Is there anything that would make quitting easier for you?
3. Don’t Lecture
No one wants someone educating or nagging them about the health risks of smoking. The best thing you could do is be supportive—and don’t be too hard on them if they slip up!
4. Offer Distractions
For most smokers, cigarettes play a large part of day-to-day routines. Try to avoid places that could trigger a cigarette craving and instead, offer new and exciting activities to pass the time.
5. Be Patient and Positive
Stay upbeat and listen to your loved one’s concerns. Try not to take any feelings of anger personally, because your loved one will be experiencing a wide range of emotions. Be their biggest cheerleader!
6. Celebrate Success
Big and small, no milestone should go unnoticed. Send them flowers after a week smoke-free, or treat them to a nice dinner after the three-month mark. Find ways to highlight their successes and make not smoking enjoyable.
5 Tips for Preparing to Quit
1. Pick a Date
This will give time for all involved parties to mentally prepare and plan accordingly. For instance, don’t plan to quit on a day when you have an event or will be exceptionally stressed.
2. Tell Family and Friends
Letting friends and family know that yourself or a loved one is planning to quit smoking will give everyone the heads up so that they can act as a means of support.
3. Prepare for the Worst
The first few weeks without smoking will be the most difficult. This is a great time to channel all the anxiety, anger, sadness, or frustration out in new and healthy ways.
4. Get Rid of Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products
Eliminate the temptation to smoke altogether. Just remind yourself how much your pearly whites and crystal clear lungs will thank you!
5. Talk to Your Doctor
Quitting smoking is difficult – and quitting cold turkey is even harder. Speak with a doctor or pharmacist about your options to quit smoking. There are many medications and over the counter treatments available, such as nicotine gum or patches.
The important thing to keep in mind when kicking the habit is that it doesn’t matter where you start, just start!