“How can I get my family and friends to quit smoking?”

“How can I get my family and friends to quit smoking?”

Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

03 Aug 2000, 21:58 #1

"How can I get my family and friends to quit smoking?" That is the question I am often asked by successful graduates wishing to help those closest to them achieve freedom from their deadly addiction to cigarettes. Unfortunately, there is no simple solution. Smokers are going to smoke until they are ready to quit. Pestering, threatening, insulting, destroying or hiding cigarettes all cause the smoker to feel resentful and usually result in higher consumption of cigarettes for spite. These are not the methods of choice.

One method which I do suggest is understanding. Smokers do not smoke because they are stupid. They don't smoke because they are mean or obnoxious and wish to hurt their families and friends. They smoke because they are human, and as humans they make mistakes. One that all smokers are guilty of is experimentation with a highly addictive and dangerous drug-nicotine. Many of them took up smoking long before any dangers were known. When they realized the dangers, they may have attempted to quit, but for some it is not easy. They are hooked on a drug, and it will take strong resolve and a support system to overcome the initial difficulties encountered during the quitting process.

The best support which can be provided by significant others is to offer love, patience and understanding, and to try to make the smoker's life as easy as possible over the first few days. The smoker giving up cigarettes may have severe emotional outbursts and be irritable, depressed, and even irrational. These are all the effects of nicotine withdrawal. Many family members and friends will encourage them to smoke rather than act like that. If they were recovering alcoholics, they would not be offered drinks by these people. If they were reacting to chemotherapy they would not be begged to give it up and sacrifice their lives for the family's momentary comfort. Unfortunately, many friends and family members often do not take smoking cessation seriously enough. We are not talking about giving up a simple little annoyance such as biting of nails. We are talking about a powerful and deadly addiction. They are dealing with a real physiological need as well as a strongly ingrained psychological dependence. Offer the most encouragement you can. Be tolerant of their temporary emotional outbursts. They will soon return to normal, and you will have the personal satisfaction of knowing you helped them over one of the greatest challenges of their lives-giving up cigarettes.

While non-smokers may offer their love, patience and understanding, you, as an ex-smoker, have the unique ability to be a highly supportive and credible source to the individual attempting to quit smoking. You knew what it was like to smoke. You know how much nicer it is to go through life as an ex-smoker. Share this knowledge. Be honest-if you still have thoughts for a cigarette, tell them. But clarify what the thoughts are like. If you are a typical ex-smoker, the thoughts occur quite infrequently, and even when they do occur they last only seconds and are just a passing desire rather than a real painful episode such as those encountered during initial cessation.

People giving up cigarettes need to know this natural evolutionary process of smoker to ex-smoker. When they encounter urges after the first two weeks, they are no longer experiencing physical withdrawal, rather they are responding to a psychological trigger. They are experiencing a new situation for the first time without a cigarette. The urge will pass and they will have learned how to face all future similar experiences as an ex-smoker, with no discomfort.

Share with them the information we shared with you during the clinic. Give them the same support that the others in your clinic gave to you. Most important, once smokers give up their cigarettes, offer periodic support to them letting them know you care about them, and always reinforce one concept to guarantee success in their continued non-smoking status-NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!
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Daffy
Joined: 12 Jan 2009, 23:44

09 Dec 2000, 20:43 #2

ImageTHANKS Joel - I appreaciate your dedication to educating us-monica
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

14 Dec 2000, 20:26 #3

Image For Nomohack:

Hopefully you will be able to utilize this one soon for your wife. When she is ready she will have to be quitting for herself though, she can't do it for you. You can support her but can't make her do it. It has been the same way for you, you had to quit for yourself whether or not she quit and whether or not she would support your effort. Her influence was never a pivotal issue, your quit was for you and needs to always be seen that way. I will bring up one more post that kind of talks about this issue titled Buddy System. Otherwise, I think I have all the issues on the board this morning I wanted to share with you. Let us know if any other way we can help.

Joel
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

27 Jan 2001, 19:26 #4

Image In honor of Sheila so that others may benefit from her two lessons. First is how she stopped and stayed off for herself and second is how she was able to use her quit to help influence her son's own decision to quit. I hope all here have such exciting residual effects.
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Sheila (STAFF 2)
Joined: 09 Jan 2009, 20:48

27 Jan 2001, 20:22 #5

Thanks Joel,
Well I will absolutely take full credit for my own quit. As for how I helped my son, all I ever did was to talk about my quit and how happy I am. I dropped a tidbit of information I had picked up at Freedom every now and then, but only as interesting information. I did not lecture or criticize. I don't even remember if I actually made the suggestion to quit. I may have but in a very tongue in cheek sort of way like. His quit is absolutely his own. He has never been known to listen to what mom said anyway :). What's the word? Oh yeah ...independent...that's what he is! But I can say one thing he does have the brains to quit and I will take all the credit for that. LOL
Very happy quitter,
Sheila
2months3days
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

02 Feb 2001, 21:47 #6

For Rory:

Its great to be able to influence others in their resolve to quit. The best way to help is by setting an example. By not smoking and still living, and I mean still carrying on with your normal life and even smiling every once in a while, smokers around you see that there is life after smoking and may start to recognize that it is a good life.

While your reason for quitting was not the idea of helping others quit, it is just a potential side benefit. Hopefully it will influence those closest to you who still feel that their survival is dependent on smoking. Because the fact the inverse of this logic is true. Survival is really based on not smoking. To keep maintaining maximum health and longer life always remember to remind yourself and to share by example to others around you the simple concept of to stay smoke free you can never take another puff!

Joel
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

12 Feb 2001, 22:42 #7

Here Tammy, you may want to pass this along to your daughter, sort of help her see that your reactions are normal even if you are not at the moment. It might spark some interesting conversation too.

Joel
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

22 Apr 2001, 20:50 #8

I thought this one might help too. But keep in mind, you can't make anyone quit any more than anyone was able to make you quit or any more than anyone now can make you smoke now. Quitting is a personal choice. Smoking is not a choice, it is an addiction where choice is overridden by the bodies demand for nicotine. The best influence you can have is by example. You will benefit greatly by not smoking and others will benefit too if they learn the lessons from you that there is life after smoking and the way to keep that life is by remembering to never take another puff!

Joel
Joel's Reinforcement Library
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Individual Approaches Used to
Motivate Smokers to Quit


Every now and then, someone informs me of an original technique they devised or heard of to help motivate family and friends to quit smoking or to at least consider getting outside assistance to break free from this deadly addiction. I feel that since the majority of people who have given up smoking have done so on their own without any professional intervention, these approaches are often viable alternatives for smokers who wish to quit or for you as ex-smokers to use to help significant others stop smoking.

Most recently, a clinic participant told us of a friend who wanted to convince her husband to give up smoking. She considered his habit not only to be deadly but also wasteful and expensive. To illustrate her point to the husband, every time he purchased a new carton of cigarettes she promptly went to the nearest sewer and deposited an equivalent amount of money. This was making the poor husband sick. He usually retorted, "Why don't you at least donate it to a worthy cause?" She would reply, "At least my way of wasting money isn't hurting anyone." This activity went on for a little over a month, at which time the husband, realizing the real waste of his habit, decided it was time to stop. He made it. Not only was he saving money, but, more important, he was saving his life. I give the wife a lot of credit for having the guts and perseverance to continue this unconventional practice to motivate her husband to help himself.

At all my clinics, I always tell the story of the lady who eight years ago had a circulatory condition, Buerger's disease, and had to have her right leg amputated. As you may recall, she quit smoking and had no further circulatory complications for three years.

Then one night at a party, a friend offered her a cigarette. She figured that since she had been off cigarettes for so long, she now had control over her habit. If she liked the cigarette, she would smoke one or two a day. If she didn't like the cigarette, she just wouldn't smoke anymore.

Well, she took the cigarette. She didn't particularly like the cigarette, but the next day she was up to her old level of consumption. Four days later she lost circulation in her other leg. She knew the reason. After three years with no problem and only four days after going back to smoking her circulation was affected. Her doctor told her that if she did not quit immediately, she would probably lose her other leg.

She enrolled in a smoking clinic that week and quit smoking. Almost immediately her circulation improved. The doctor took her off anti-coagulant drugs. She no longer needed them. Soon, things were back to normal.

Nine months later, I called to ask her to serve on a panel. At that time, she replied, "I can't come. I have been in the hospital the last two months." When I asked what had happened, she replied, "I had my toes amputated." She had gone back to smoking. She tried one because she just couldn't believe she would get hooked again. She was wrong. She lost circulation, had her toes removed and eventually had her leg amputated.

I have had other clinic participants with similar experiences. The reason I talk about this story is I again ran into her about 3 years ago, at which time she told me she had finally quit smoking. I told her I was surprised, I thought she had permanently lost control. After all, she had her leg removed, the toes from her other foot, and eventually her second leg. When I confronted her with that information she replied, "The doctor finally convinced me. He said, 'You might as well keep on smoking, I'll just take your arms off next." That scared her into quitting smoking. Her next comment to me was unbelievable. She looked me straight in the face, dead seriously, and said "I didn't need a house to fall on me to tell me to quit smoking!"

I still have periodic contact with her, and whenever I bring up that conversation, we both find ourselves amazed that she could ever have made such an irrational statement. She happens to be a very rational, bright and inspirational individual. She gets around on wooden legs, socializes, and even occasionally sings and dances on stage. Once she had broken free of the drug's effects and the smoker's psyche, she knew she could do anything.

Frequently, I encounter people who quit smoking on their own. When I ask how they did it, they tell me of this marvelous lady they met who told of how she used to be hooked on smoking. Hooked so bad, in fact, that she had her legs amputated from a smoking related illness. It usually turns out to be the same person. By spreading her story, she offers inspiration and hope to countless smokers to break the habit before the habit breaks them.

You, too, probably have stories you can share with your smoking friends of your past experiences smoking, or of people you met in your clinic. Maybe you know of ways to help motivate family and friends to quit. Try to help those people most important to you. If they try to stop but can't on their own, remember, we are always out here to help them. You can really make a difference in their lives. Share your knowledge. For friends who have already quit, as well as for yourself, don't forget to reinforce the one principle - NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!



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duncan
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:12

22 Apr 2001, 21:19 #9

Joel - thanks mate - I was quietly hoping you would come to my rescue on this issue - it's the only thing holding me back at the moment - thanks so much - Duncan
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

13 May 2001, 19:01 #10

Image I see where a few people are facing the dilemma of how to help influence friends and family members to quit smoking. The best way to help is setting the example that not only is it possible to quit, but that overall life is better once you did quit. The odds are pretty good that when you were a smoker you didn't think either of these situations were possible or likely. But you can't dwell on the topic with them if they are not ready or willing to hear it. If you say anything about smoking, say it infrequently, but let your example of not smoking and smiling speak for itself. Whether you say it or not you are setting the example.

If you have physical improvements, subtly bring it up, maybe not even mentioning smoking. If you are out shopping and see something you like while with them, buy it and say it is a little reward for yourself. Don't say why, just be cool and nonchalant about it. Most important, just carry on your normal existence to the best of your ability when around these people. You will be quietly teaching them that there really is life after smoking.

If it does eventually influence them and they are ready to quit, they will likely come to you for advice. Then you can refer them here, or print out materials from here and give it to them, or come read yourself the materials and translate into a personally delivered philosophy. Keep it simple for them. Quitting is not complicated or expensive. All it involves is getting nicotine out of the body. And staying off is not complicated either, it is simply a matter of remembering why you quit, remembering why you don't want to go back to smoking, and then remembering the way not to go back is to never take another puff!

Joel
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