Smoking is not merely a bad habit. It’s mostly addiction. And since we are all aware of the risks and dangers of smoking, we try to get rid of it ourselves. Likewise, we wish that we could help a loved one or a friend quit smoking. However, in our strong desire to make them kick the habit, we have to first understand what made them start smoking.
The best way to quit is to never start.
Understanding the Victim and His Addiction
Contrary to common beliefs, most people don’t smoke or become addicted to certain habits because of logical reasons. Instead, they usually do them to fulfill certain psychological needs. By understanding such psychological needs that pushed the person to embrace smoking, you’d be able to help them satisfy these specific needs and make quit smoking over time.
The drug inside the cigarette or tobacco that most smokers are addicted to is nicotine. Just like in other forms of addictions, people who are dependent on cigarettes have an unexplainable, compulsive urge to smoke. Their bodies crave for regular doses of nicotine.
When they smoke, certain changes occur in their brains and other parts of the nervous system. These changes make them physically dependent on tobacco. If they finally decide to cease smoking, the process seems to be hard and uncomfortable. Since withdrawal symptoms are real, some smokers are unable to handle these feelings as they may find the craving for nicotine too hard to resist. For the same reasons, some of those who try to quit experience relapse or slip up.
Quitting smoking is such a struggle. It takes time and requires rigid willpower to overcome the habit. However, it is ultimately possible. This is where patients’ support groups play a vital role. They need these fellows to help break habits and routines built around smoking, and most importantly, replace them with new healthier choices.
Cigarettes are killers that travel in packs.
Here are the things you can do to help them quit:
Support them without controlling them
According to research, approximately 75% of all smokers in the US have already claimed they would like to quit. All they need now is a high motivation to pursue their desire. Don’t nag or lecture them. Also, don’t make them feel that you know more than they do. Remember that what they need is a helping hand. Therefore, refrain from making them feel bad about themselves.
Quitting is a very stressful experience, and if the patients feel more stressed-out, it would definitely be harder for them to succeed. They need to understand that you care about them whether they win or lose the battle. Most importantly, respect that they are solely in charge of everything in their life. After all, their lifestyle change and their underlying challenges are theirs, not yours.
Give them an inspiration
Tell some successful stories of people who were able to quit despite the difficulties. Communicate with the “wanna be reformists” wholeheartedly by conversing and listening to whatever they have to say. Starting a conversation with them, especially if you sense that they feel like talking, may be a good start of a stronger and more open relationship with them.
Saying the following encouraging and positive words can also do wonders in this challenging process:
- “I can tell this is hard on you, but I’m proud of you for sticking with it. Let’s do something fun to celebrate how far you’ve come!”
- “It sounds like you’re having a rough day. How about I take care of dinner tonight/watch the kids/mow the lawn so that you can have some time for yourself? You deserve it.”
- “Nice to see you doing good and getting better each day.”
Make their sanctuary entirely smoke-free
Remember that for this mission to work, you need to make your home free from the addictive “smell.” Ensure that no one smokes in any part of the house and inside the car, too. Remove lighters, ashtrays, filters, vapes, and other smoking paraphernalia from your home. Keep away everything that may remind them of the habit. This also includes washing clothes, carpets, and drapes that have a “cigarette smell” and using air fresheners to get rid of tobacco smell.
Congratulations, you’re way to go!
This infographic shows the stages of quitting and how it’s like when the quitter finally reaches such a phase.