How to Help Someone Quit Smoking
Research reveals that there are many good reasons to quit smoking. These include leading a healthier lifestyle and overall cost-savings since tobacco and cigarettes are expensive. Here are some of the ways that you can help your loved one stop smoking as a CDPAP caregiver. But first, let's look at some of the reasons why it's hard for a smoker to quit smoking.
Why is it Hard for a Smoker to Quit Smoking?
Nicotine is the primary substance in tobacco. It makes it difficult to quit smoking due to its addictive nature.
When nicotine enters the brain, it activates the release of pleasure chemicals resulting in happy feelings. In chain smokers, the brain gets accustomed to the presence of nicotine and the resulting stimulation. Over time, it alters the functionality of the brain and makes the smoker feel like he or she can’t do without cigarettes.
So when your patient attempts to stop smoking, his or her brain experiences irritation. Consequently, the smoker may feel:
· Anxious or distressed
· Difficulties in sleeping
· Difficulties in concentration
· A strong urge to get back to smoking
These are known as withdrawal symptoms. They often ease away after a few weeks once the brain becomes accustomed to the lack of nicotine.
Daily Routines Linked to Smoking
A regular smoker’s day is characterized by routines linked to his or her smoking habit. For example, lunch breaks are a time for taking one or two cigarettes. Also, finishing a meal or drinking coffee is accompanied by a smoking session. These are known as triggers.
So when a person attempts to stop smoking, he or she may find it difficult to carry on with these activities without smoking at all. To quit smoking successfully, a person has to cope with and manage these two primary challenges:
· The lack of nicotine in the brain
· Eliminating cigarettes from daily routines
As a caregiver, it's important to know what you should do and what you shouldn't do when helping someone quit smoking.
Dos and Don'ts When Helping Someone Quit Smoking
As a CDPAP caregiver, how can you help a smoker on the path to quitting their smoking habit? Well, the following are a bunch of do's and don'ts to keep in mind:
· Show respect to the smoker as they are in charge of their own lifestyle change. Don't be too hard on them because the challenge is not yours to overcome.
· Make sure the person is comfortable with you asking about their progress. Ideally, you should ask about their feelings instead of just asking if they've quit smoking successfully.
· Make it clear to the person that they are welcome to talk to you anytime they have something to get off their chest.
· Help the smoker get supplies and items that they can use as a distraction. For example, hard candy or fresh, cut-up fruits and veggies may be helpful in this situation.
· A smoke-free environment provides the smoker with a supportive space. Clean clothes and other items that have a noticeable tobacco smell. The home setting should smell fresh. Vacuuming and air fresheners come in handy in this situation. Remember to clean the car as well.
· A smoke-free home environment will help the quitter cut back on their habits. You can adopt a no-smoking policy in every area of the house.
· Spend quality time with the person who wants to quit smoking and offer suggestions of activities they can engage in. Keeping active can help steer their minds off smoking. Some of the distractions may include going to the cinemas, taking a walk, or working out.
· Show appreciation to the smoker for his or her decision to keep others safe from hazardous secondhand smoke. This will give them encouragement that their quitting journey is also beneficial to other people.
· Try to understand the perspective of the individual who's quitting. Cigarettes or tobacco may be like that trusted friend who's been around during the difficult moments. Giving up this kind of relationship is difficult and the process takes time.
· Celebrate both little and significant milestones along the quitting journey. When they can avoid smoking for a day or a week, this is an achievement. You can take them out for lunch or dinner to celebrate such achievements. Such celebrations may also motivate the smoker to quit for good.
· At some point along the quitting journey, the quitter may encounter stress as a withdrawal symptom. You can help them with some of their daily chores like meal preparation, gardening, or running errands to alleviate the pressures of quitting.
· Smoking materials should be purged from the house as well. Get rid of ashtrays and lighters that may stir up the urge to smoke inside the quitter.
· Never question the ability of the smoker to quit. Often, your trust and support give them the confidence they can successfully complete the journey.
· Don't lecture, pester, or taunt the quitter. Your loved one may become resentful towards you. As a result, they may resort to smoking a cigarette to ease their hurt feelings.
· Nicotine withdrawal is characterized by petulance as one of the withdrawal symptoms. Knowing this means you shouldn't take the quitter's petulance personally. Inform them that you understand what they are going through and that the symptoms won't last. Remind him or her that the withdrawal symptoms usually ease up after a few weeks.
· Every quitter's journey is different. So don't be quick to offer advice. Simply ask how you can be of assistance based on their original program or plan.
It's quite common for someone who is trying to quit smoking to encounter some relapses along the way. So what do you do in such situations?
What If the Person Who's Quitting "Slips"?
· Don't lose hope with the person who's quitting smoking. Taking a few puffs doesn't necessarily mean the person has gone back to their old habits. It is part of the withdrawal journey.
· Remind the patient of how long he or she managed to stay off smoking before the latest slip. This will motivate them to start once again.
· List all the reasons the smoker mentioned when he or she expressed intentions of quitting smoking. Remind them of these objectives to help them regain their focus. Moreover, encourage them to put the slip at the back of their mind and get back on track.
· Be positive through words of encouragement.
· Recognize the efforts of the person who's quitting smoking and remind them that it may require several attempts to achieve their end goal of quitting permanently.
· Provide unconditional support, despite the patient’s relapse into smoking. Scolding or blaming them for the slip will make them feel guilty.
What do you do, then, when you smoke but your patient is trying to quit the habit? The tips below might be helpful for your situation.
If You Smoke and are in Contact with Someone Trying to Quit
Here's what you should do when you're a smoker and are in contact with someone who's trying to quit:
· Respect the person trying to stop smoking by lighting up your cigarette outside or away from them.
· Follow suit and combine efforts with your patient in the journey to stop smoking. You're more likely to encourage each other along the way as you're in the same boat.
· You don't want to stir up the urge to smoke for your loved one. So put your matches, lighters, ashtrays, and cigarettes out of sight.
· Never dare or tempt the quitter to take a few puffs, even in a joking manner.
Sometimes it gets difficult to get your patient to stop smoking. Read on to find out how you can help them take the first few steps towards a smoke-free life.
How to Help Someone Take the First Steps to Quit Smoking
· Show them how much money smoking costs. Drive the point home by providing them with alternatives of where they could have invested the money they spent on tobacco and cigarettes. Examples include a new car, better house furnishings, or a family holiday.
· Most social places like restaurants, public transport vehicles, and cinemas prohibit smoking. Show the smoker how their habit cuts them off from other people and even you in social situations.
· Because smoking is harmful to one's health, make them understand that their smoking habit reduces their life expectancy.
· Help them find a quitting aid, such as nasal sprays, patches, or gum.
· Suggest good distractions to take their mind off smoking. Find new hobbies and try new activities together.
· Seeking help is a show of strength, not weakness. Help them visit a doctor or counselor if necessary.
· Encourage them to join a support group. Quitting smoking is not an easy task and it requires support and encouragement from persons who are on a similar journey and those who've successfully quit the habit.
The Bottom Line
Helping your loved one quit smoking is probably one of the most useful things you can do as a CDPAP caregiver. Quitting smoking can help a person lead a healthier lifestyle. On your part, you feel a sense of pride and contentment knowing you've assisted someone quit a dangerous habit.
In the end, the smoker must take up the challenge to quit smoking. While friends, family members, and workmates may provide support and encouragement in helping the individual to quit, the buck stops with them.