When trying to quit smoking, you need spirituality, quality - friendship, and support
Nagging doesn't help.
But there are lots of things you can do to help someone stop smoking.
Be patient, positive and understanding, because it might take many attempts before the nicotine addict quits for good, says Dana Washington, a smoking-cessation counselor.
After 51 years of smoking and countless attempts at stopping, Odessa Pyles finally quit on July 13, her 68th birthday. ``I feel proud that I've lasted this long. I take it one day at a time,'' she says.
Emotional support is key to her success, says Pyles, a retired social services worker. The instructor in her smoking-cessation classes was especially helpful, and so was a fellow quitter in the class.
``Whenever I felt myself weakening, I'd get on the phone and call (my friend) Michelle, or I'd get myself to the support group,'' says Pyles.
Support from family, friends and co-workers is ``very important'' in any attempt to quit tobacco, says Debi Hudson, program manager at Clarian Tobacco Control Center in Indianapolis.
``This is hard, and it's a long process'' to break an addiction that took years to develop, says Hudson, whose husband has not smoked in the two years since he quit for the eighth time. She says it's important to keep up the support for weeks, months, even years, if necessary.
When someone you know is trying to quit, ask how you can help, suggests Bill Dodds, the Seattle-based author of ``1440 Reasons to Quit Smoking'' (Meadowbrook Press, $7.95). It's an important question, because different smokers want and need different types of support.
``It varies so much from individual to individual,'' Dodds says.
Try affirmation instead of condemnation, says Jean Flora Glick, a writer who is helping her 42-year-daughter, Kim Nading, quit for good.
The biggest helps are her faith in God and her mother's unwavering faith in her, Nading says. ``Mom never was judgmental. She was my cheerleader.''
In 2002, Glick started writing her daughter daily letters full of encouragement, scripture and prayer. Nading wrote back about her ups and downs -- what made her crave a cigarette, what helped her stay away, which Bible verses were especially inspirational.
Glick saved the letters and turned them into a how-to-quit book for Christians. ``Holy Smokes! Inspirational Help for Kicking the Habit'' (Kregel Publications, $9.95) was published in September.
``She quit for six months, which we call a victory. That's 5,400 cigarettes she didn't smoke,'' Glick says. Nading most recently quit again on Nov. 20, the annual Great American Smokeout.
Here are some suggestions -- from Dodds, Washington, Glick, Nading and Hudson -- that might help you support someone trying to quit:
* Learn about nicotine addiction and the quitting process, so you can understand what the quitter is feeling physically and emotionally.
* Remind the quitter that his or her craving will pass in a few minutes whether she smokes or not. Remind her of the ``four Ds:'' Distract, drink, delay, deep breathing.
* Encourage the quitter to try counseling or a smoking-cessation class.
* Help the person make an appointment with a doctor to discuss quitting methods and whether a prescription will help.
* Realize that cessation classes, therapy or nicotine replacement therapy might take a bite out of the family budget. But smoking is more expensive than any quitting method.
* Keep cigarette substitutes handy. Some ex-smokers like to fiddle with plastic straws, chew gum, or crunch on carrots. Find out what works for your friend.
* If you or other family members smoke, don't do it around the person trying to quit.
* Understand that for a while, your friend might find it too tempting to be around friends and family who smoke or to visit the usual ``smoking'' places, such as the bowling alley, the tavern or even the patio.
* Show you care by inviting your friend to a movie, workout, museum, library, or wherever smoking is not permitted.
* Pamper the quitter. He or she needs and deserves extra tender loving care.
* Be understanding when the person is irritable. It will ease.
* Understand that quitting is the first priority, so other issues may be put on a back burner.
* Don't become a member of the ``Cigarette Police,'' sniffing around to see if the quitter has slipped.
* Don't raise an eyebrow or criticize if he starts eating more. A few extra pounds aren't the main concern right now.
* Reward the quitter's efforts. Celebrate your loved one's quit date on a weekly, then a monthly basis.
* Don't give up on the quitter if he or she lights up. Relapses among addicts are common. Congratulate her for surviving even a short time without smoking. Encourage him or her to quit again. Talk about what triggered the relapse and help her try to avoid the trigger.
For more information on quitting smoking:
* American Cancer Society: 800-227-2345.
* Quitline: 877-937-7848.
* ``Holy Smokes! Inspirational Help for Kicking the Habit'' by Jean Flora Glick can be ordered through Kregel Publications, $9.95, at www.kregel.com or 616-451-4775; or www.amazon.com.
Supportive friends and family should know common methods for cigarette quitters
By Patricia Hagen
Gannett News Service
What's the best way to stop smoking? It depends on the quitter.
Many need a combination of medicine, emotional support and behavioral changes, says Debi Hudson, program manager for the Clarian Tobacco Control Center in Indianapolis.
``Nicotine addiction is really three addictions in one,'' she says. The three addictions -- physical, psychological and social/behavioral -- vary in intensity with each smoker.
Here are methods smokers commonly use to help them quit:
* For emotional support and help with behavioral changes, many smokers turn to one-on-one counseling, classes offered by local health organizations, telephone quit lines, and support groups.
Which is best? It depends on the quitter's schedule and how comfortable he is discussing personal issues in a group, Hudson says.
* When smokers quit, they suffer nicotine-withdrawal symptoms, such as depression, irritability, headaches and fatigue. Nicotine-replacement therapy helps reduce the severity of the symptoms. It is available in five forms approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Skin patches, gum and lozenges are available over the counter. Prescriptions are required for nasal spray and inhalers.
* A prescription medication, bupropion, can reduce the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. This pill, called Zyban or Wellbutrin, is best known as an antidepressant, but a smoker does not have to be depressed to get a prescription. It is sometimes used in combination with nicotine replacement.
The products have similar effectiveness rates, Hudson says. So it's important to choose the methods and products that fit the quitter's lifestyle and smoking pattern. Does the quitter want something to chew or to occupy his hands? Does the quitter need frequent quick doses or once-a-day convenience?
Some health insurance plans cover classes, counseling and medications, Hudson says. Medicaid will cover counseling, prescriptions and over-the-counter nicotine-replacement products.
Whatever the cost, it's important to remember that quitting is cheaper than smoking, Hudson says. Smoking a pack a day can cost more than $1,000 a year. And that's not counting the cost of health problems caused by smoking.