It is painful for many children, especially those who don’t smoke, to see their parents puffing their lives away. Talking to your parents about quitting smoking can be awkward and intimidating. After all, they’re supposed to be the ones talking to you, and not the other way around. Still, you want to open up the subject. You don’t want your parents to contract smoking-related diseases. You know you should do something.
So how do you encourage your parents to quit smoking without offending them? And if they agree, how do you show your support?
Here are steps to try:
Let them know the risks and make it personal.
Your parents most probably know the harmful effects of smoking to their own health and well-being. But do they actually know its impact on your whole family? Make them aware of the consequences of smoking to the health of everyone in your home. Secondhand smoke is as dangerous as firsthand smoke. It has been widely linked to cancer, lung disease, heart disease, and many other illnesses.
Talk about longevity.
Tell them how quitting smoking can add more years to their life. Studies suggest that smokers die an average 13 years earlier than non-smokers. Let your mom or dad know how much you wanted them to see you graduate, make your own family, and have children. Talk about your dreams and future plans for the family. Let them love life more and take care of their health even better.
Tell them it’s not too late.
Many older adults who smoke don’t quit because they think that the damage has been done and there’s no use to stop. But that’s not what decades of research suggest. In fact, scientists found that the benefits of quitting are huge for older adults. Last year, a study by the German Cancer Research Center revealed that people between 50 and 74 cut their risk of heart attack and stroke by more than 40 percent within the first five years after the last cigarette.
Bring in reinforcements.
Work with your siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, and the close friends of parents. Form a family team to support and encourage your mom or dad to quit smoking. This can greatly fuel their motivation to quit smoking now.
Encourage them to seek treatment.
If your mom or dad is having difficulties quitting due to withdrawal symptoms, tell them there are several treatments available. Quit smoking methods come in various types, from NRT to medication, counseling, etc. Eliminating nicotine addiction is easier under the guidance of a health professional.
Be sure to celebrate the milestones along the way. Take them out to a nice restaurant or arrange a home party and invite close friends and relatives to come by. Celebrating milestones is one way to let them know how seeing them quit is very important to you and their efforts are much appreciated. This will keep them motivated, and will encourage them not to light up despite tough cravings.
Encouraging your parents to quit smoking can be intimidating, but it’s worth all the efforts. Making them aware of the negative impact of their smoking habits to the family, talking about longevity, seeking backup from the whole family, and encouraging them to undergo treatments if necessary are simple yet powerful ways to help your parents quit smoking for good.