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Help Others Stop Smoking
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Help Others Stop Smoking

If you are reading this, it is because you are doing your own research into helping others stop smoking. Maybe it is a loved one, like your spouse, brother/sister, parents, or perhaps you even want to help your children stop smoking, or perhaps it is just a friend.

Whoever it is, there are some things that you should know before you embark on the journey. Before you even mention quitting to them in a serious manner, you should try to analyse what type of smoker they are. There are several different types of smoker (I should say sub-types really, because they are all essentially the same thing - smokers) and I will give you a rundown of them here before I explain tips on how to help them stop.

The "Casual" Smoker.

This is somebody who doesn't smoke very regularly, also known as a Social Smoker or a "I only smoke when I drink" smoker. Despite what they believe, they are just as addicted as other smokers, or they wouldn't do it in the first place, they just have a bigger fear of becoming a full-time smoker than they do of quitting, so they control their smoking habits and reassure themselves that they aren't fully hooked because they can 'take it or leave it' (so why not just leave it?) This type of smoker can be difficult to persuade to quit, because they really believe they don't need to.

The Pack-a-day Smoker

The majority of smokers fall into this category. I know I did. This is because it takes roughly 30 minutes to one hour for nicotine to leave the body enough for someone to want to smoke again, so it makes sense that they smoke roughly twenty a day. These types of smokers can vary in how much they want to quit, but for the most part all of them are aware that they should, but the fear of quitting (even if they won't admit it) is too strong and outweighs their own distaste of the habit.

Note: By fear of quitting I am not referring to someone being actually scared to quit smoking, I am saying they are scared that life will not be the same without cigarettes, that they will have to go through an awful withdrawal period, or simply that they will fail and feel terrible.

The Confirmed Smoker

In his book, Allen Carr refers to the "Confirmed Smoker" as somebody who has no desire to quit whatsoever, and doesn't even really believe that it is bad for them. They will refer to the smokers they know of who lived until they were 80 years old (while ignoring all the ones cut down early) and use that as evidence for their argument. This type of smoker will be the hardest to convince to stop, and it may take a health scare or other significant change in their life to prove the difference.

As promised, here are some of my methods for helping others quit.

First, find out if they want to quit. I don't mean the "Yeah..I should quit one day" type of quit, I mean they seem actively seeking ways and you have witnessed them trying to quit before. If they fall into this category, great! They just need to learn some new ways to stop smoking and the rest will be easy.

If they are umming and ahhing about quitting, or you suspect they want to quit but might be holding themselves back, that is also fine, you can refer them to a book about smoking, a session at a clinic, or some friends who have successfully quit. I strongly recommend this method over simply buying some quit smoking products for them, because that could prove too direct, too strong, or too scary, and play on that fear of quitting enough to make them change their mind about the whole thing altogether. The slower pace of a book, a discussion with a friend, or expert will allow them to gradually imagine life without smoking and get used to the idea that it is very much achievable.

Now, for the 'confirmed smoker' you will need to have patience, this article is about helping not forcing others to stop, but at the same time, you can't necessarily wait for them to come around to the idea that they want to stop smoking. Chances are they are not going to wake up one day and say "I want to stop smoking" unless there is a severe health scare, and we don't want to wait for that to happen. You can drop subtle hints that you worry about them, or mention friends you know who quit recently, but try to avoid being too direct. It's not worth talking about the health risks or the financial burden, the government scare campaigns do that already. The 'maybe you would like to read this' line can work but whether or not they will get round to reading any quit smoking book you give them is another question.

Personally, I think letting someone know how much you care about them while avoiding confrontation and strong emotions will be enough for them to at least consider quitting, and sometimes a simple idea like that is enough.

Fortunately, I think this type of smoker is a dying breed (sorry for the pun) and more than likely your loved one falls into one of the other categories, any words like "I don't need to quit" are probably just for show.


Street Talk

Nice article since I am stopping smoking myself after almost 30 years.

Reply
  about 9 years ago
  

Great to know! Good luck with it. What method are you using?

Reply
  about 9 years ago
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