Motivate/Empower Your Loved Ones to Quit Smoking: A Quick Guide
Watching someone you love struggle with a complicated addiction like smoking is really hard. Even when you know what is best for them, it becomes really difficult to help someone get rid of an addictive habit like this one.
Two scenarios generally happen, one your loved one is not ready to quit, second, they are trying to quit but are not able to due to any reason. While quitting is a personal decision, there are a few things that you can do to help them make the decision or stay committed to their decision.
In this blog, we will tell you how to approach someone to quit smoking, and how to help them through this difficult journey by supporting and encouraging them.
How to tell your loved ones to quit smoking?
Chances are that you have already asked them to quit a couple of times in the past, but what’s the harm in trying again? The key to convincing someone to listen to you on a sensitive matter lies in being gentle with your approach.
It is important to understand that it is a touchy topic for them, hence think before you speak. You can even think of a rough script in your head before you begin the conversation. Smokers generally become defensive while talking about quitting, so be prepared and approach the topic with caution and in the right setting:
- It is important to ensure that your loved one is in the right physical environment and in the right mental state for you to have this conversation. So do not start talking about quitting in front of their other family members or friends. You need to be respectful of their space.
- You can even ask them if it is okay to talk about it. And if they are ok - ask them about their thoughts on quitting. This way you can get the feelers on how this conversation might go if you take it forward.
- Be clear on starting your wish for them to quit smoking. Do not make it sound like a command but back your wish with reasons. Tell them why you think it is right for them to quit smoking. This reason can be anything - I want you to live a healthy and long life or I want our children to not have someone around who smokes or anything else. But do not try to make them feel guilty about it.
- Ask if there is anything that you can do to help them if they decide to quit smoking.
- Do not ask them to answer you right there and then. Give them some time to think and get back to you with their answer. Do not drag the conversation.
Now if your loved ones agree to quit, then congratulations. It is now when the real struggle will begin and you can play an active part in making sure that your loved ones feel supported and motivated throughout the quitting journey.
Here is a list of things that you can do to help them stay on track to quit smoking:
1. Educate yourself - to help someone, it is important for you to fully understand what they are going through. Quitting is a difficult process for various reasons and you need to have some basic understanding about the why. You can start learning about the struggles and challenges of a quitter by reading about them online. You can even join some communities to increase your understanding and awareness around it all.
2. Be patient and respectful - secondly, you need to put yourself into their shoes and be patient with their struggle. Try to see things from their perspective. As already mentioned, quitting is not easy. They have been smoking for quite a while now and it has become ingrained in their lives and routines. So if they come up to you and want to rant about something, let them. Create a safe space for them. Lend them your ears and listen to them patiently. Additionally, be respectful of the fact that they are trying and making genuine efforts to fight off their cravings.
3. Understand their triggers - Smoking, apart from being a behavioral habit, is also a psychological challenge. Certain habits, places, situations or emotions act as triggers and make us want to smoke.
Triggers are generally of three types - pattern, emotional and social.
i) Pattern triggers are the ones that are dependent on activities or habits. For example, if a person used to smoke while driving, they will be reminded of smoking during that time.
ii) Emotional triggers involve feeling stressed, anxious or lonely.
iii) Social triggers include social occasions and events like concerts or bars. A loved one may also be triggered by other factors like smelling cigarette smoke or craving the taste of cigarettes.
It is important to understand these triggers and help your loved one avoid them. You can even have an open conversation with them and come up with strategies that help avoid these points.
4. Suggest NRT - While you keep them company during this challenging time, you can also suggest them about using NRT products like anti nicotine gums, nicotine patches or tablets. They are a safe and convenient way to deal with nicotine withdrawal symptoms. It is absolutely easy to Buy Nicotine Gums, tablets or any other product - While some of them are available over the counter, some might require a doctor’s prescription. You can try reading more about their uses, efficacy and other important things online.
5. Come up with distractions - Try helping them by suggesting some healthy and engaging distractions. You can even accompany them during these activities so that they do not feel alone. You can start a new hobby like pottery or take up painting together. If nothing comes to mind, start on a cleaning spree with them. This will help them stay engaged and trick their mind into not wanting cigarettes just to pass their time.
While there are many other things that you can DO to help your loved ones stay away from cigarettes, allow us to talk a little bit about things that you should NOT do when supporting someone who is trying to quit:
1. Do not judge them - Avoid using any negative language or criticism as this might dishearten the person and lead to much more stress.
2. Do not enable their habit - Try to stay away from triggers that makes the person want to smoke. For example, let go of all the things that remind them of smoking. You must also avoid certain situations like hanging around the bar (if alcohol is a trigger for them) as this will just remind them of smoking.
3. Do not try to control them - while we understand that you are trying to help them by forcing them to stop smoking, it is important to not dictate their actions. They need to feel in charge of their journey. For instance, do not bug them by checking if they took their Ryze gum or not.
At the end, remember that they need your love and patience. Even if they replace it. Do not make them feel like a failure. It is absolutely ok to relapse as long as they do not give up. Make them understand that they can reach out to you or anyone like a healthcare provider to help plan their quitting journey. The key to successfully getting rid of this habit lies in consistency and not giving up! And you can definitely remind them of this!