Make no mistake, quitting smoking, is not easy. When non-smokers spot a smoker pulling away and say to themselves, “How awful” they may be actually looking at a very frustrated and unhappy human being who has endured the agony of attempted withdrawal from this addition and failed.
According to numerous researches, the majority of smokers actually want to quit smoking. But they need help – in psychological terms, they need reinforcement.
Directly or indirectly, smoking is responsible for a sixth of all deaths, and helping someone quit smoking is one of the most important things you can do for their health. So, what specifically can you do, by way of effective preaching and reinforcement, to help someone quit smoking?
• Ask about his or her smoking habits. Ask the infamous question: “Are you ready to quit?”
• Explicitly explain the hazards of smoking – lung cancer, heart disease etc. and the benefits of quitting. Such facts are usually taken for granted.
• An average smoker has a few relapses before he quits smoking for good. So, explain if he has tried to quit smoking and failed, that this is not unusual.
• Set an early quit date.
• Offer support and let him know that you care so much that you will monitor his progress and commitment to stop smoking by the date set.
• Don’t blame him for lack of success, but rather congratulate him and encourage renewed efforts among relapsers. Emphasize learning from failed attempts and situations that may make the new ex-smoker desperately search for a cigarette.
• Give extra help or lead him to it; for example, a quit smoking program or book. In case of smokers who are highly nicotine dependent, this may mean temporary use of nicotine gum.
The more measures or interventions, the better: the help of a doctor or other health workers, books and other educational tools, close monitoring, classes etc. The efforts can work. You can help someone quit smoking and you will feel very good about it.