HOW CAN YOU HELP? A friend tells you he/she wants to quit smoking, but doesn’t know how. You’re not a counselor; you’re a peer educator and a friend. How can you help?
Many people say they want to quit smoking, but later rationalize why they need a smoke. Here are some common rationalizations to smoke and possible replies.
Rationalizations and Replies Rationalization: “I want to quit, but life is too stressful right now.” Reply: When is life not stressful? True, quitting during finals may not be the ideal time, but the “perfect moment” may never come. Let’s figure out a good time for you to quit.
Rationalizations and Replies Rationalization: “I only smoke when I…” Study, drink, am stressed, stay up late, am offered a smoke, hang out with friends, am cramming for a test, etc. Reply: Smoking a few times a week can quickly turn you into a full time smoker. Among occasional smokers, about 50% are on their way to smoking full-time for an average of 6-10 years. Let’s talk about how often the “when I” occurs. American Journal of Public Health
Rationalizations and Replies Rationalization: “I’m worried about gaining weight.” Reply: The stress on your heart of smoking a pack a day is equal to being 90 lbs over weight. The average person can gain 4-10 lbs after quitting, which can easily be prevented or lost with a healthy diet and exercising. University of South Florida
Who’s in Charge? The Cigarette or You? When trying to quit, learn what your triggers are so you can fight them.
Trigger: Stimulation People whose trigger is stimulation think that smoking helps keep them focused and organized. Smoking can make you feel like this because nicotine is a stimulate. Replace what you get from smoking: Drink a lot of water Eat healthy Get enough sleep Exercise Keep a to-do list
Trigger: Handling Some people like the feeling of having something in their hands; they like the inhaling and exhaling and watching the smoke. Replace what you get from smoking: - Chew on a toothpick or sugarless gum - Suck on a lollypop - Eat carrots or celery - Doodle with a pen - Carry silly putty - Carry a stress ball - Chew on a straw
Trigger: Pleasure Some smokers just enjoy smoking. They associate it with “the good times.” Replace what you get from smoking: Remind yourself why you want to quit. Change is good! Hang out in smoke-free places and make new “good times.” Spend the money you saved from not buying tobacco on something for yourself.
Trigger: Relaxation A lot of smokers use cigarettes to deal with stress. There are lots of other ways to handle stress. Replace what you get from smoking: Exercise Breathe! Remember that smoking doesn’t solve the problem. Figure out what does, and act on it.
Trigger: Craving When a smoker quits, he/she can go through withdrawal symptoms. Replace what you get from smoking: Use the nicotine patch, gum, inhaler, etc. Consult a physician about prescription medication. Tell friends and family you’re quitting and need support. Avoid situations that could trigger a craving.
Trigger: Habit Habit smokers often smoke unconsciously; smoking is no longer even satisfying. Break the habit. Change your smoking routine: Keep your cigarettes in a different place. Smoke with the other hand. Only take a few drags, then put it out. When you want a smoke, wait a minute and see if the craving passes.
You’re a friend, not a counselor. Be supportive and STEP by STEP, you CAN help your friend reach the goal!