Welcome to this week's installment of QMember Stories, featuring Froglady - who just celebrated a 14 year quit she started at the Q in 1999!
"I smoked at least two packs plus a day for more than 42 years. I tried to quit smoking many, many, many times. But once I joined QuitNet I was successful the very first time, and knew that I had found my forever quit!
"The worst part about my smoking was that 99% of my friends and relatives did not smoke; how they tolerated me I will never know. But, the main reason (other than #1, health concerns) I quit is that I had just bought a brand new silver convertible sports car (little old lady trying to hold on to her youth!) and I vowed that I would never stink it up with foul smoke!
"When I decided to stop smoking I went online looking for a support group, and on July 1, 1999 I found QuitNet. I had never belonged to an online group before so my first stop was the chat room. I was actually still smoking at that time and I was amazed at the warm welcome I received. From that moment on I knew that I had found a new addiction to replace my smoking .... QuitNet. With the help and support of my new found friends, I set a quit date of July 26, 1999, and it has now been 14 over years for me without a single puff!
"I quit using Wellbutrin and the nicotine patch. I had never tried NRTs before and I think that is what made the difference. Some people are against NRTs, but I say do whatever works for you.
"Today, I have freedom, freedom, freedom from being tied to the end of a cigarette! But, the MOST significant change in my life was being invited to visit my brother and sister in law in San Francisco. Because I live in Miami , we didn't get to see each other very often, and while it was never discussed, I knew that I was not invited to visit because I was a smoker. When I quit, I got my first invitation in more than 30 years, became a frequent visitor, and had some wonderful times that I would not have had experienced otherwise if I were still smoking.
"Unfortunately, my brother, who was 7 years my junior and not a smoker, died very suddenly of a heart attack in November, 2010. I never expected that I would outlive him. This is another reason why I am so grateful to QuitNet -- for making it possible to spend so much more special time with him that I otherwise would have missed if I had continued to smoke. My trip to the West Coast for the funeral was surreal and I was in a complete daze, but it wasn't until I arrived home that I realized I had not thought once about having a cigarette. At that point, I knew that I would never go back to smoking again NO MATTER WHAT, and that I was done with cigarettes forever.
"Without a doubt, the most interesting and memorable experiences I have had on the Q was the chance to attend two QuitNet 3D Meets - one in Chicago in 2007 and the other in Seattle in 2008. I met over 100 Q members in person! Real people, and most of them just as nice and caring in person as they were online! I can also remember my worst experience as a smoker -- when I had just started a new job and one of the benefits was a company car......that I promptly set on fire when I threw a cigarette out of the window and it blew back in and landed in the back seat. And, no, I wasn't fired! (pun intended)
"I suggest you use the tools offered to you. For me, the chat room was a place where I literally lived for the first few months of my quit. By using the Forums and reading, reading, reading, I gained invaluable information from people who had already been through the quitting process and applied their advice and experience to my own quit.
"My most valuable piece of advice to others trying to quit smoking? I would say never give up! Anyone can quit if they sincerely want to, and if they commit themselves 100% to reaching that goal. 'There is no can't, only won't.'"
Keep coming back, and KTQ,
Sheila, the Frog Princess (j/k!).
This week, let’s take the new coping tools you identified from last week’s blog and apply them to your quit process. What did you come up with in response to the questions? Here they are again, with a few answers listed by other quitters:
- How will you relax? (take a bath, write in my journal, have a cup of tea, play with my children)
- How will you reward and celebrate? (visit with friends, go shopping, go out to eat, go to a movie, save up for a special purchase)
- How will you process feelings of anger? (talk it out, relax, let it go, handle things better next time)
- How will you deal with anxiety? (keep things in perspective, relax, let go, take a walk, take a both, read a book)
- How will you cope with stress? (deep breathing, repeat my mantra, relax, reward, exercise, talk about it, let it go)
- How will you overcome sadness, loneliness or depression? (reach out, exercise, write in journal, call a friend, spend time with my dog)
- Who will comfort you and help you get you through a bad day? (friends, family, QBuddy, coworker, husband, wife)
Once you have your own list of coping tools, it is time to identify your biggest trigger challenges. When are you most likely to struggle with your quit? Are mornings hardest? How about driving, at work, weekends or when company comes by? Knowing when you are most likely to be tested allows you to come up with a plan of action for that specific situation. Take charge of your triggers! For example, make driving less stressful by leaving earlier. Close your door at work and refuse interruptions during a project. Have an enjoyable activity planned for a weekend reward. Have an area designated outside for smoking visitors and so forth. Plan ahead as much as you can. Use your list of emotional coping tools before you get stressed, angry, sad, overwhelmed or tempted!
By managing your trigger situations and emotions, you will feel centered during day to day experiences. This ensures you can keep your quit going strong. When you cope effectively, you feel more in control of your environment and relapse is less likely to occur. This is all part of a successful quit. By actively meeting your emotional needs, you will do away with thoughts of smoking and feel less stress, anger or frustration. The more you practice your new behaviors, the easier it will be to work through old smoking triggers.
When you find yourself in a tough trigger moment; Stop. Just stop everything and acknowledge what you are feeling. Next, identify what triggered your feelings. You are quit, you wish to remain quit and smoking is not an option. Breathe in deeply, pause and exhale slowly. Repeat a mantra if you like, and relax a bit so you can move forward. Now review your options!
Once you know what you are feeling (EX: stress) and know what triggered it (EX: fighting kids) then you can use your list of coping tools for stress plus your comfort sources for bad days plus your coping tools for anxiety and relaxation. Now you feel less stressed, the urge to smoke has passed and you can move forward with a family discussion.
As you work your way through your quit process, you'll learn some things about yourself along the way. Enjoy the journey as your nonsmoking life unfolds!
Keep going and KTQ,
Vikki Q CTTS-M
Master Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist
People who have smoked for most of their lives may not recall what life was like before smoking. For years, smoking was a reward, a past time, a coping tool for stress, anger, boredom, anxiety, sadness, frustration and every other emotion or challenge that came along.
As a result, longtime smokers may not have developed emotional coping tools or practiced letting go or learned to sit with their feelings. This can leave the newly quit in double trouble! At the same time withdrawals, anxiety and stress step in, the quitter's only known coping tool (smoking) steps out. When you stop smoking, you stopped doing something you were used to doing every day for many years. It is no wonder why your emotions go through a challenging time!
It is normal to feel nervous, restless and even sad when you quit smoking. You miss your daily ritual; even more so if there are no new behaviors in place for each of the moments throughout the day that you used to smoke.
Quitting is a process. It takes time. It does not feel comfortable at first and that is OK! When you stop smoking, you can no longer do what you used to do in the same way you used to do it. Temporary mood swings can result from quit related hormone fluctuations and quit related withdrawals. It will get better, so keep going!
Know that every smoker goes through similar challenges. As you work your way through your quit, you are actually 'becoming a nonsmoker', not just 'not smoking'. Make a commitment to find new emotional coping tools so you can move forward happily and successfully as a nonsmoker. Plan ahead how you will meet your emotional needs as a nonsmoker. Your answers to the following questions will help provide you with a personal road map to success:
- How will you relax?
- How will you reward and celebrate?
- How will you process feelings of anger?
- How will you deal with anxiety?
- How will you cope with stress?
- How will you overcome sadness, depression?
- What will comfort you and get you through a bad day?
Chances are, you have no idea how to answer these questions because you have never had to! This is a normal experience, and rest assured you can find things that interest you, inspire you, calm, comfort, entertain and support you as a nonsmoker.
Think of things that have helped you get through strong trigger moments in the past. Think of things that make you laugh or recall fondly. Really work your quit process; brainstorm and come up with new emotional coping tools that can address your individual needs effectively. Next week, we will take these new coping tools you've identified and discuss how to move forward successfully as a nonsmoker!
Keep going and KTQ,
Vikki Q CTTS-M
Master Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist
Celebrate your quit with other quitters:
A good support system is essential in maintaining a quit. This support comes from family and friends (covered in last week’s blog) or provided by a support group or quit-smoking program. Quitting smoking is no easy feat; it may be one of the most difficult life changes you make, so the more emotional support you gather the better. There’s no need to quit alone. Support groups and smoking cessation programs are out there for the joining; you just need to reach out in your community or search the internet. Read on to find the right fit for you.
Nicotine Anonymous is a quit smoking support group that uses principles from the Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Step program. This program focuses on the addictive nature of nicotine and the admission that you have lost control over your life and the use of tobacco. The Twelve Steps suggest a spiritual approach in believing that a power greater than you can help. There is no religious affiliation other than your own understanding and preference of a higher power. Quitting smoking is managed one day at a time and with the belief that following the 12 Steps promotes a healthier emotional and spiritual life enabling you to remain nicotine-free. New members are encouraged to find sponsors who will support and guide them through the recovery process. The anonymity of the program requires first names only; with this confidentiality participants may speak more freely in the group, obtaining the needed support. The meetings are free and world wide. For meeting locations and times visit http://www.nicotine-anonymous.org/
Smoking cessation programs are available in most communities. Often these structured programs are offered in local hospitals, doctor’s offices or community centers. Usually the classes are four to eight weeks in duration and meet on a weekly schedule, except on quit week, where a follow-up class is added two days into the quit for support. The classes are anywhere from one to two hours long, providing educational information and group interaction. The group interaction allows you to learn from others and provide mutual social support. This is especially helpful for those who lack support from family or friends. Discussed in class are reasons for quitting and the benefits, the addiction of nicotine and coping skills and strategies for handling cravings. Information is given on medications to help you quit. The class participants are asked to commit to a specific quit date. It’s always helpful if the class extends past the quit date so you will have the needed support. Depending on the length, the weekly classes cover support for maintaining your quit, weight gain, managing stress and relapse prevention. The facilitator should be experienced in group programs and qualified as a tobacco treatment specialist. Most smoking cessation programs have a fee, though some may be sponsored or covered by health insurance. General costs are $50.00 to $275.00.
The internet is a great way to access support for quitting smoking. There are many web sites that offer free support for quitting smoking, my all time favorite being QuitNetwww.quitnet.com . The benefit of QuitNet www.quitnet.com is that not only do you have access to online tobacco treatment specialists, but you have around the clock cessation support by means of the forums, clubs and chat rooms. The social support of connecting with other quitters is a powerful behavioral tool to use when quitting tobacco. Interacting with other ex-smokers who have gone or are going through similar quit experiences is extremely helpful, especially when you need some support during tough times. A web based support group like QuitNet www.quitnet.com is the perfect follow-up for the smoking cessation class that ended too soon, providing continued quit support. Online quit support is convenient and saves time. It may be as close to home as you can get.
Keep coming back, and KTQ,
Support from family and friends can be very helpful when you're going through the quitting process. Words of encouragement can spur on progress and keep the focus on the positive. It’s motivating knowing that your family/friends will stick by your side during the uncomfortable times, especially in the early days of your quit.
That being said, family and friends may also unintentionally do and say things that make it more difficult for you to quit, actually doing more harm than help. It’s usually not that family and friends want to roadblock your quit, but rather that they just don’t understand how difficult quitting can be. They may see only the irritable, depressed, and unpleasant person you have become, not realizing you are going through withdrawal and perhaps battling one huge crave after another.
The way to remedy this problem is through discussion. Start by explaining to family and friends how important their support will be in helping you quit for good. Let these people know the reasons why quitting is so important to you. Let them know quitting may be one of the hardest things you’ve ever done. Educate family members or friends who have never smoked on the addictiveness of nicotine and how withdrawal causes unpleasant side effects, such as anxiety, irritability, lack of concentration, depression, etc. Remind your family and friends these are normal but temporary quit symptoms.
If you have family or friends who still smoke, ask them if they have ever tried to quit, and if so, what were their experiences? They may have helpful advice. Make a list and think about ways your family and friends can be helpful in supporting your quit. If you live with a smoker ask them not to leave their tobacco products in sight and to smoke out doors and out of view. If needed, remind them that being around people smoking or seeing cigarettes, lighters, etc., are strong triggers to smoke. Tell them under no circumstances are they to offer you a cigarette. Your family and friends are the people in your life who care about you, so an honest and heartfelt request will more likely than not get you the needed support.
You may be a former smoker or a nonsmoker wondering how you can be supportive in helping a family member or friend who is quitting tobacco. You can begin by asking the quitter what they feel would be most helpful and honor their request. If you are a former smoker it may be helpful to share your past experiences; just respect that the quitter may be using a different quit plan. If the quitter is irritable or moody, it’s due to nicotine withdrawal, not a personal feeling towards you; withdrawal symptoms are temporary. Be available to listen to any concerns they may have about quitting. It's better to talk it out versus smoke it out.
Offer to do activities with the quitter that help distract from cravings, such as going to the gym, for a walk, to the movies, a museum, etc. Be in the quitter’s corner by picking up the slack at home when the stress of quitting is getting to them. Offer any needed help to lighten the load. Continue to encourage the quitter, even if the quitter backslides.
Quitting successfully takes many attempts. Each one is an opportunity to learn and move forward to success. Don't forget to praise your family/friend's quit milestones; whether it be one month or two years, all are cause to celebrate!
Keep coming back, and KTQ!
Next week:Joining a Support Group or Smoking Cessation Program
You can quit smoking successfully, and we can help:
Welcome to QMember Stories, featuring Sindie033013 - who celebrates nearly a three month quit!
"I started smoking when I was 13 years old. I remember living in Dunlap, IL, and going out into the woods behind my house and trying a cigarette. Then we would go out behind the bus barn after school and smoke. Both of my parents smoked back then, so I guess it seemed like the thing to do to become an adult.
"We moved to California when I started High school and that’s when I really started smoking regularly. I would swipe Salems from my mom’s closet and smoke away. There was a smoking section at the high school, so it was pretty much accepted in those days.
"There are so many things I dislike about smoking. The worst thing has been the isolation. My addiction to cigarettes has slowly isolated me from people. I live in California where NOBODY smokes, and smokers are very frequently looked down upon. I have rebelled against that thinking for a very long time, but I now see that I was only hurting myself and isolating myself from other people.
"This time I stopped smoking on 3/30/13. I wanted to stop on or near my birthday…and I did, so I am very happy about that. I am using NRT in the form of the nicotine patch. I used this before in a former quit when I stopped for 6 months. I know that it will work for me as long as I stick with it.
"I went searching online for a stop smoking support group and found QuitNet. I am very grateful to have found it. It is a big part of my Recovery Plan. I Joined on my Quit Date, 3/30/13. Going to the Newcomers chat room during Hell Week (week one) was a life saver. I would like to help others by going there when I am more confident in my own quit.
"This is the 4th time (I think) that I have stopped smoking. Each time I have stopped in the past I have learned something. I know now that I CANNOT have just one cigarette. That I CANNOT go Off the Patch too soon; I must give myself enough time. And, just for me, that I CANNOT take anti-depressants as they increased my anxiety the last time to an unbearable point.
"In addition to NRT in the form of the patch, I've used Alan Carr’s Stop Smoking the Easy Way for Women, QuitNet Support, free youtube Stop Smoking Hypnosis, having an actual Quit-Buddy (a very good friend of mine), “smoking” cut off straws in my car and whenever else I feel the urge, being more active, making plans to become a runner, and taking the Daily Pledge every Day at QuitNet.
"My main inspiration for stopping at this time is an upcoming trip to Ireland. I have been fortunate to travel quite a bit but this is the first time I will be traveling solo with a group of new people. I decided I did not want to be smoking and isolating myself during this adventure. I hope that when I return from my trip I will find the motivation to remain smoke free.
"I am feeling so much better already. I had a terrible cough that would not go away. I’ve had it well over a year and would not go to the doctor for it. It is nearly gone now. I keep thinking I may have dodged a bullet and it really could be the very next cigarette that I smoked that would turn that cough into lung cancer. I want to stay alive … to see my son finish college…and to enjoy my future grandchildren.
"Also, I have overcome some life events in recent years and I have finally found a deeper strength within. I believe that I am finally ready to truly stop
and to be able to handle the uncomfortableness of quitting.
"My advice to newcomers? If you decide that you are going to quit, do not let anything stop you. Use each and every resource available to you, and Protect your quit at all costs. Recognize that you are an addict and that you are entering a period of recovery. Be good to yourself…and reach out for support from others…it helps a GREAT deal."
Keep coming back, and KTQ,
"P.S. I am thrilled to let you know that I have returned from my trip to Ireland and survived entirely smoke free!! What an amazing experience!" :)
Welcome to the this week's installment of QMember Stories, which features Kallikak - who celebrates a nearly 7-year quit!
"I smoked 35 years total, interrupted by several earlier quits. I’m not sure that any of us keep track of the number of attempts, once it gets beyond “several”.
"The worst thing about my smoking was that I had no control over my addiction, and that I knew it was killing me. No one in my family, or my extended family, smokes. I was the only addict. They were very tactful about it, but it was clear that they all wanted me to quit. The final straw was an angina attack in July 2006. I instantly became a quitter at that moment.
"I'd first found QuitNet the year before, in January of 2005, after an off-hand remark from someone (probably one of those relatives above) that there probably would be resources online to help with quitting. I did a Google search, and the rest is history.
"I quit on January 1st of that year, and the Q became my lifeline, a lifesaver. A couple dozen of us formed a club in January 2005, and we called it something really clever, like 'Jan2005 Quitters'. We shared a monumental goal, and we all started at the same time. I’ve never seen support like that, but I’m guessing that many clubs here have that magic about them. I’ll never forget the first time a new quitter responded to one of my posts that I had been an inspiration. Whoa, talk about a rush!
"I had 10 months on my quitmeter when I was laid off from a long-time job. That triggered my addiction. I began smoking again, and didn’t stop until the angina attack in July 2006. I've been smoke-free since then.
"In my 2005 semi-final quit, I used the patches, and they worked very well. This final time, I quit cold turkey when I had the angina attack. That served as a clue that I am mortal; that I will not escape the consequences of smoking if I don’t quit. In the early days, my inspiration came most strongly from the Q; it was like being in an intensive care unit.
"I have two outstanding suggestions for anyone thinking about quitting smoking: First, make a list of what smoking was doing to your life, and the reasons you quit; and second, take your quit 'one crave at a time'. Just take care of the next one, and don’t worry about the one after that.
"If you come on to the Q, you can call me Bill. My username is Kallikak - a tribute to a family that was the subject of a study by H.H. Goddard, an early 20th century psychologist who thought he could tell if you were feeble minded just by looking at you; he also gave us the word `moron`!"
Keep coming back, and KTQ,
Last week we talked about stress; this week we will talk about detox! QuitNet Q'sters often ask if there is anything they can do to help their body detox after so many years of smoking cigarettes. Quitting smoking is the best detox plan of all. However, the answer to the question is yes! Here are some options that may help support your body as you keep the quit:
Free radicals cause damage to your cells and can be formed by smoking, pesticides, pollution and daily metabolic processes. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals and as a result, can help protect your cells from damage. You will find antioxidants in many fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, vitamins, minerals and herbs.
By eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables, you can help your system heal, detox and flourish. Eating fresh foods high in cysteine, beta-carotene, vitamin B2, vitamin C and vitamin E will increase your antioxidant intake. Zinc and selenium will help stregthen your immune system.
Fruits and vegtables are very nutrient dense, high fiber, low calorie and as an added benefit - reduce both food and nicotine cravings. The majority of fruits and vegtables are alkaline which helps restore your system from it's highly acidic state brought on by smoking. Here are some food chioces that are very high in antioxidants:
- red, black, kidney and pinto beans
- blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries,
- cherries, plums, prunes, apples
- russet potato
There are endless benefits to loading up your grocery basket with a wide variety of these colorful, wholesome, fresh foods!
Herbal remedies are not FDA approved and may interact with certain medications or medical conditions. Always ask your doctor before taking herbal remedies. Keep in mind that supplements 'add to' a healthy diet and do not work alone. Your healthy diet is the foundation, and herbal supplementation builds upon that foundation.
Many herbal teas, seasonings and medicinal herbs contain antioxidants. Aloe vera, bilburry, green tea, garlic, turmeric, ginkgo, ginger root, grape seed and milk thistle may help your body fight free radicals. Herbal teas are an easy way to support the detox process. Tea is also relaxing to prepare, steep and sip as you celebrate your quit! Here are just a few of the many herbs that may help support different areas of the body:
- Liver: Burdock, Milk Thistle, Artichoke, Dandelion, Licorice Root
- Lungs: Ginger Root, Garlic, Thyme Leaf
- Skin: Fennel, Aloe Vera, Ginger Root, Licorice Root
- Circulation: Ginger, Black Pepper, and Long Pepper
- Digestion: Anise Seed, Licorice, Fennel, Peppermint Leaf
Adding an herbal detox remedy in powder, pill or tea form may help your system detox. If herbal supplementation appeals to you (and your doctor has no objections), give it a try!
The human body is about 60% water! Drinking plenty of water will help you detox by increasing the amount of nutrients you absorb in food and eliminating waste from your body. Water also helps you feel full, reduces cravings and can have an alkalizing effect on your system. Smoking can be dehydrating and acidifying, so your entire system will thank you if you get in the habit of drinking plenty of fresh water.
By adding some nutritional support to your system, you can help your body detox and repair after many years of smoking. Today is a great day to move forward as a healthy nonsmoker!
Be healthy, and KTQ!
Vikki Q CTTS-M
Master Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist
Stress is a common relapse trigger. Stress happens to all of us, and stressors range from mild to overwhelming. Since stress can build to a breaking point, a good stress management plan is crucial for a successful quit.
The minute you find yourself feeling stressed, stop. Stop everything you are doing and take a good deep breath. Pause, and feel the air fill your lungs. Exhale slowly. Repeat 5 times. Trust that everything is going to work out as it is meant to be, that you are capable of handling the situation and that your best is always good enough. All you can do is all you can do - then let go. Focus on the task at hand, only own what is yours to own, and let the rest go.
Many of us live days filled with an endless list of tasks, appointments, chores, responsibilities, obligations and work. Take some time out of every day to do a few things for you! It is your life and one worth living in joy, not stress.. The rest is just 'stuff'. What do you enjoy? Do it! Play music, take a long hot bath, take a walk, go to a movie, spend time alone, read, journal, fix a quiet & healthy meal, take a short drive, go window shopping or to your favorite restaurant. Give yourself permission to put you at the top of your list! Let someone else make dinner. Leave the floors or paperwork for later. Take a day off - ENJOY! You deserve a break, and nothing is worth more than enjoying the journey of our lives.
TALK WITH A FRIEND
A problem shared is trouble spared! Good friends offer you feedback, a space for you to be heard, a venue for you to process your thoughts (and often, your own solutions), a shoulder to cry on, a cheerleader, a confidant, shared joy, encouragement or comfort in times of need. Reach out! Be a good friend, and appreciate the good friends you have. Your life will be improved many times over.
COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS
It is easy to get caught up in the swirl of worry and everything that is not working (car, dishwasher, conflicting personalities) when in fact, the majority of our lives ARE working! The washer may be broken, but how is your heart? Your health? Do you have somewhere to live? Have you laughed lately? Focus on what you do have, what you love, and what is right in your world. The rest is just random ups and downs. What you focus on grows - focus on all the good things around you!
HONOR YOUR QUIT
Quitting smoking is a big change. It takes effort, commitment, will power, planning and daily attention. Quitting is a good exercise in effective goal setting and completion, and each step in your quit process adds successful tools to use in other parts of your life. Celebrate and protect your quit by making every day a smoke free, relaxing day!
Stay tuned for Part 2; Detox. Until then, keep up the good work and KTQ!
Vikki Q CTTS- M
Master Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist
Part Two of last week's Mother's Day Q Blog: Dealing With Peer Pressure
Most adult smokers picked up their first cigarette when they were teenagers, and so began a potential lifelong addiction. Peer pressure is one of the most common reasons kids start to smoke. Adolescence is a time when fitting in is extremely important. Kids want to be liked by their peers and fear being made fun of or singled out. Teens may engage in risky behaviors in order to win social acceptance from their peers. If invited to join a group where smoking is common, your teen will most likely smoke to feel accepted. This is especially true if a teen feels socially awkward and doesn’t make friends easily.
It’s also more likely for teens with attention deficit/hyperactivity (ADHD) to experiment with smoking and become nicotine dependent. Nicotine is a stimulant that acts similar to some of the medications used to treat ADHD. Cigarettes easily become the drug of choice for kids with ADHD, as they self-medicate to relieve their symptoms. School life and social pressures can increase stress and anxiety for all teens. So, while smoking may start as a result of peer pressure, it may end up as a coping tool for life's daily stress.
Get to know your teen’s friends! Ask your teens if any of their friends smoke. Ask if they talk about smoking with their friends or if they have ever been offered cigarettes. If their close friends smoke, eventually they may break down and try one. Ask them to picture situations where their friends may offer them a cigarette. Help them practice resisting peer pressure by doing some role-playing so they feel comfortable saying no to their friends.They can blame it on their parents: “Not for me, My Mom/Dad will ground me for life if I smoke”, or use humor: “No Way. There are all kinds of poisonous chemicals in those things!” They can even be blunt and just say “No thanks”.
Ask your teen their opinion on the dangers of smoking. It’s best not to lecture on the long term consequences of smoking as teens tend to live in the here and now and ten to twenty years down the road is an eternity to them. Your teen’s vanity is a better hook. Teens don’t want yellow teeth, wrinkly skin, or smelly breath and hair. If you want your teen to be aware of the health risks of smoking, put it in terms that are relative to them now. Let them know how smoking will affect their ability to sing, dance, run track, play ball, swim; even date! Choose something that matters to them.
Smoking is expensive. Have your teen do the math on how much money the average smoker spends a year on cigarettes. Have them make a list of things they could buy with that money. Chances are, they have been asking or saving for something special; now’s a good time to show them the financial costs of cigarette smoking. Offer a reward incentive for staying smoke-free (or quitting if they smoke) and see how quick they comply!
Your teen is faced with peer pressure on a daily basis, so expect to revisit the issue of smoking frequently. Being supportive will help them make the right choice. Being an example by not smoking, setting clear boundaries that smoking is not an option, and keeping the communication lines open will help prevent your children from becoming smokers!
Quit with QuitNet today: