While it’s hard to imagine for non-smokers, quitting smoking is in fact quite difficult – cold turkey or not.
If your boyfriend, girlfriend, boyfriend, or family member is considering quitting smoking, it is important to provide positive support. When people around you support your decision to quit smoking, the chances of success increase. This time we will discuss how people around you can give their support and what kind of environment should be created when a family member or loved one begins to give up the habit.
Increase motivation to quit smoking
When a friend of mine recently said he had finally quit smoking, I was actually surprised – not because he had finally given up a 22 year old habit, but because he hadn’t mentioned being on the way to quitting smoking. I asked him why he kept this a secret. His answer: He had tried (and failed) so many times to quit that he was embarrassed to reiterate his resolve and seek help from others. He didn’t want to prepare himself to disappoint others – and to be disappointed by them.
The fact is, some people can give up smoking on their own, but it is a habit that is difficult for most people to break on their own. It’s a two-way street, however: smokers need to be comfortable expressing their desire to quit, and friends and family need to have their backs. Regardless of how many times in the past you’ve tried to quit smoking, it’s important to provide encouragement and support your motivation.
Here are some examples of what you can do to increase a smoker’s motivation to quit.
Setting milestones is a good start. When the quitter reaches a certain milestone (e.g. 1 week, 30 days), it can be good to give a small gift or reward to celebrate. This can lead to a positive reinforcement of their efforts. While surprise gifts can be fine, letting them know in advance what you want to give or do can be an added incentive.
Give positive praise
Ex-smokers are less likely to be rated for leaving the habit behind. Despite the initial “hey this is great” and similar positive words received when a smoker says they are going to quit, they often don’t get much follow up. There are times when an ex-smoker craves a cigarette and hearing warm words from others can help them endure. Especially when the person quitting is a friend, partner, or family, actively offering praise and positive words can go a long way.
Help support change
While it is important to increase a smoker’s motivation to quit, and quit, it may be necessary to create an environment that supports their decision. This can mean changing your own routine and also becoming more aware of your own behavior, taking into account the situation and personality of the smoker.
Actively talk about the future
It is important to actively speak about the future, especially when it comes to family and children, to encourage awareness to quit and quit smoking. Be clear about why the smoker should quit – and how a smoke-free life will benefit both of you. If you have or are thinking of children, talk about what smoking cessation means for children and their long future.
Do not come near smoking areas
When eating, it is also important to carefully consider the surroundings. Avoid areas where other smokers may live and choose environments that are completely smoke-free. When a smoking environment is in sight, the desire to smoke can be rekindled. Pay close attention when you are together.
When you stop smoking
Even if a smoker offers a lot of diligent support, giving up cigarettes can be a very difficult and painful process. No matter how much assistance they receive, smokers will always be tempted to smoke – and one day they may succumb to cigarettes. (In fact, most ex-smokers took about half a dozen attempts to succeed.) In such a case, how the people around them address the smoker becomes important.
In case you see your friend / partner / family member putting on a cigarette after the day is over, try to keep the positive going. Accusing them of weak will does not resolve the situation and will likely only serve to push it away. Instead, point to the fact that they made an effort to quit (“You quit a week – that’s great!”) And look forward to your next try together. That way, a smoker can feel more positive about their attitudes and decide to make the next attempt to quit smoking.
“Because they are important to me, I want my mom / dad / girlfriend / boyfriend to quit smoking.” We all have our reasons to want to help someone else quit smoking. We often wonder what words and actions are appropriate – which shows that we care about them without being overloaded. It can be difficult at times, but when that special person in your life is trying to quit smoking you should be as supportive as possible. If you are there and feel that “someone is supporting me and pressing my back” it is more of an encouragement to people who also quit smoking.