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Do you know someone thinking about quitting smoking?

Is someone you know telling you they are tired of smoking cigarettes? Are they commenting about the cough, the smell, the cost, standing out in the cold, the nagging of loved ones? Maybe they are beginning to think about quitting smoking.

For many people smoking is a part of their daily lives, but don't lose hope if this person quit before and started again!! It is rare that a smoker successfully quits the first time they try. On average, a person makes 30 quit attempts before they successfully quit for life. The good news is that with every quit attempt this person will learn something new about their strengths and about their areas for improvement. As they learn more about themselves and their smoking patterns, every subsequent quit attempt becomes easier and easier.

Why is it so hard to quit?

Cigarettes contain nicotine and nicotine is a very addictive drug. It only takes seven seconds for the nicotine to reach the brain after it is inhaled. The brain and body quickly get used to the effects of nicotine and need more cigarettes more often to avoid withdrawal symptoms like tiredness, irritability, hunger etc. If you know someone who experiences these symptoms when they do not smoke for a period of time, it means that they are addicted to tobacco. The effect that are felt from smoking only lasts a few minutes, but the impact on health can be forever.

Nicotine itself is a toxic substance and cigarettes contain 4000 chemicals, at least 40 of which are cancer causing. How smoking affects the body depends on a number of factors including the length of time the person has been smoking, how many cigarettes are smoked in a day, age, and any medical conditions.

Common reasons people want to quit:

  • Health Benefits: Quitting smoking has health benefits within 20 minutes of stopping.
  • Saving money: Cigarettes are expensive, many people do not think about how much smoking costs, or about how much extra money they would have if they stopped smoking.
  • Protecting people: Many people want to protect the people around them from being exposed to second hand smoke.

Before helping someone attempt to stop smoking...

Think about preparing. It is a bit like training for a race. The better trained your friend or loved one is for this race, the higher the likelihood of success.

Get them to:

  • Make a list of reasons, including personal reasons, medical effects, health benefits, financial advantages and obligations to others.
  • Repeat one of these reasons to themselves several times each morning.
  • Set a target date for quitting and do not allow anything to change this date.
  • Make a list of people who can support their intentions to quit, such as co-workers, family members and friends.
  • Prepare themselves through knowledge of the withdrawal symptoms and ways to cope with them.
  • Think about how they will spend their extra money, how good they'll feel about themselves, how much better their clothes will smell, how much more energy they will have and how much fresher their breath will be.

The person you know may not want to quit now and that is ok.

All you can do is offer support and try not to pressure them into doing something they do not want to do. Later down the road, your friend or loved one may think about it for a number of reasons. Quitting smoking is an individual experience and by them simply thinking about wanting to quit means that they are on their way to making that change to become smoke-free.

Now that we thought about preparing to help someone to quit, do you think they are ready to quit smoking?