Is smoking a personal choice that only affects the smoker?
Smoking is a health hazard so great that … and the scariest thing is an estimated … people in the world take part in it.
SO HOW DO YOU GET SOMEONE TO KICK THIS HABIT FOR GOOD?
1. Ask the person if he smokes. Even if you've known that person your whole life, ask the person. You'll get that person to acknowledge his smoking habit out loud not only to you but also to himself.
2. Ask the person how long he's been smoking in years.
3. Ask the person how many cigarettes that person has smoked a day. The purpose of these two questions is to make the person understand how serious his smoking habit is.
4. Ask the person if he is willing to quit.
5. If the person is willing to quit then ask the person what is stopping him from quitting, ie what are his barriers? Gaining weight? Depression? Fear of failure? Listen to the person's concerns respectfully and do not mock the person. Then try to work through the person's barriers by involving a primary care physician. Research has proven that the most effective quitters are the ones who regularly contact their physician who can provide them with endless smoking related counseling as well as nicotine products.
If the person is not willing to quit, then ask the patient what he benefits from smoking. When the patient responds, then tell the patient about the big risks of smoking including infertility, many different types of cancers (not only lung, but also bladder, esophageal, pancreatic and oral cancers), bad breath, dry mouth, heart attacks, ulcers , and the list goes on and on. Remember to play on that person's fears – if the person is concerned with his weight and image, then tell the person smoking ages smokers and causes premature wrinkles.
Once the person has realized the risks of smoking, educate him on the benefits of quitting (again, play on the person's feelings). If the person is a father, mention the numerous health benefits not only for himself but also for his children. If the person is a lover, mention that he'll smell better once he quits, and so on.
6. Remove all smoking related paraphernalia. This includes cigarettes, lighters, ashtrays, and cigars from the home, office, and car.
7. Make the person keep a record of what stimulates smoking. He can just carry a piece of paper with him and write down when he feels like smoking – is it when he's in the car? in bed? when watching tv?
8. Set up a date when that person will begin the quitting. This should be marked specifically on a calendar to mentally prepare the person for quitting, and after that day the person should not smoke even once.
9. Reward the person for not smoking when he feels like it. Remember that piece of paper that has all the stimuli for smoking (step 7)? Well, when the person overcomes the urge and does not smoke, give him a small reward or just acknowledgment and encourage his effort.
10. Encourage regular physician follow ups. As I said before, the most successful quitters are the ones who involve doctors. So the person should be encouraged to visit his doctor at least once a week for the first month of quitting, then once every 2 weeks, and so on.
Remember that above all else, the person needs support from family and friends. So do not be judicial or impatient.
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