Smoking is a deadly habit that affects not only the smoker but also the people around him or her. There’s no alternative to smoking so the only way to cut the health risks associated with tobacco use is to stop smoking now. But then, convincing someone to quit is not easy. Despite the obvious health risks, it can be tricky and really challenging to encourage a loved one to ditch this nasty habit for good.
But as the old saying goes – if there’s a will, there’s a way! The following are simple yet effective strategies that can increase the chances of your loved one quitting.
- Inform them about the health risks. You might be surprised to know that not all smokers are aware of the deadly effects of tobacco use. Or, some of them know that smoking can cause lung cancer, but not heart disease, dementia, other forms of cancer (stomach, mouth, kidney, etc.), and mental illnesses like depression. They may snap at those health risks, but deep within, the smoker is most likely feeling threatened and worried about the possibility of developing any of these chronic diseases.
- Show them what their lungs look like. You can download plenty of photos from the internet showing the lungs of a smoker, as well as a non-smoker’s lungs for comparison. Maybe you can also show them photos of a smoker’s brain and heart. It will help them realize how dangerous cigarettes really are.
- Let them realize that smoking affects other people. Just because a person is not smoking doesn’t mean he or she is completely protected from the dangers of tobacco use. One’s smoking habits can impact the health of other people, especially their loved ones who live with them. Basically, anyone who is around them while they smoke is affected because they get to inhale second-hand smoke. Not only that, some toxins from cigarette smoke can stay in draperies, walls, furniture, and clothes for a long time, even if you wash them plenty of times already. Experts call it ‘third-hand smoke’ which has been found to increase health risks, just like first-hand and second-hand smoke.
- Talk about the benefits of smoking. Many smokers can’t quit because they are afraid of the downsides of stopping smoking, which are the withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Focusing on these can discourage them from deciding to quit. So, you want to give them a ‘breather’ by demonstrating to them how ditching the habit can improve the quality of their life and health. Tell them that when they stop, their physical appearance will greatly improve. They can say ‘goodbye’ to smoker’s cough, and reduce the likelihood of suffering from fatigue, anxiety issues, irritability, and mood swings. They will also improve their breathing patterns. And here’s the biggest reward – they can add more years to their life.
- Get professional help. If all else fails, it’s time that you consider seeking help from a professional smoking cessation specialist. This will make them take the event seriously. But you still have to be present to give your loved one the support they need.
At times it’s going to be really difficult and infuriating but being consistently persistent is the key when trying to break an addiction. Realize that nicotine addiction is something you could not eliminate in one day. It takes time, effort and hard work. Being there to support your loved one is going to make things easier and lighter for them.