If you know someone closely who has been struggling to quit smoking for quite some time then we understand your pain. Quitting is not an easy thing to do. People struggle a lot with so many challenges that it becomes painful to watch them go through all of this. While quitting is a personal journey. There are quite a few things that you can do to help them.
Trust us, believe it or not, but they need your support to sail this challenging path.
In this blog, we will walk you through a quick guide that will help you help your loved ones during smoking cessation.
Let’s start this guide by answering a simple question for you – is quitting smoking really that difficult? Why?
Well, if you have not smoked in your life then it is quite normal for you to have these questions. Well, quitting is very difficult. Especially, if a person has been smoking for quite some time now, it is no longer something that they do, it is something that has become ingrained in their life. It is a routine and a part of their lifestyle. And quitting something that you do every day takes time.
Many reasons make smoking difficult. They range from behavioral to psychological factors. But there is one particular thing that makes quitting a difficult thing to do – nicotine addiction.
As you know cigarettes contain tobacco and tobacco contains many harmful toxins. Nicotine is one such substance that is present in tobacco which makes it highly addictive. When you smoke, meaning that you consume nicotine, it gets absorbed into your body and tricks the brain into releasing neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. These transmitters make you feel an instant feeling of relaxation or calmness. People generally get hooked on this ‘high’ and keep on seeking it. The more they smoke, the more they want to. The body slowly develops tolerance to nicotine and starts craving more and more amounts. This further leads to nicotine addiction.
And when you do not consume nicotine, the body experiences nicotine withdrawal symptoms like anxiety, depression, irritability, difficulty in concentration and so on.
Now that you understand what makes quitting this difficult, it i s now time to look at the things that you can do to help your loved ones that can ease their quitting journey:
1. Be patient and empathetic – this is the first thing that you need when you want to help someone who is on a quitting journey. Try to understand their struggle and see things from their perspective. Listen to them patiently if they ever come up to you and just rant about something. Your patience and empathy will create a safe space for them.
2. Educate yourself – in order to successfully help someone, you need to understand what they are going through. Hence, it is important to stay aware of their struggles and challenges. You can read about them online or try to ask about the same in your peer group. This will help you help them. You can even consider joining some online communities that talk about these things.
3. Introduce them to NRT – Our medical industry has advanced much in the past years and now we have medical products that can help with smoking cessation. Nicotine Replacement Therapy is a medically approved way of managing nicotine withdrawal symptoms. There are various types of products that you can choose from – nicotine tablets, nicotine gums, nicotine patches, nicotine inhalers and so on. All these products are designed to help put a certain amount of nicotine in your body so that you can control your nicotine cravings. For example, if you choose Chewing Gum to Quit Smoking, the nicotine gets released into your body through the gum and gets absorbed into your body without any harmful toxins that are present in the cigarette smoke. You eventually switch to a lower dose and help your body get adjusted to a reduced amount. They have the potential to become reliable companions in smoking cessation.
- Understand their triggers – While it is natural to crave for cigarettes when you quit, there are actually certain situations, places or emotions that can trigger these cravings. These triggers can be anything. For example – some people tend to end up smoking when they are stressed. This is an emotional trigger. Similarly, some people tend to smoke after having a few drinks. Or some people have a habit of having a smoke after dinner. It is important to understand these triggers and patterns as you can help your loved ones avoid them.
5. Come up with distractions – It is important to stay busy during the quitting phase. Chances are that the quitter might not be able to come up with interesting things to do. But you can. Come up with interesting and engaging things to do together. This will keep their minds distracted. You can start a new hobby with them or even join the gym or yoga together. Do something that keeps you busy.
Now that you have gone through the things that you can do to help your loved ones, there are a few things that you should steer away from. For example, do not be judgemental. They are going to get difficult but do not use any negative language or criticism that makes them feel bad.
Additionally, it is important to not control them. Let them be in charge of their journey. All that you can do is just help them stay motivated. Even if they relapse. Do not make them feel like a failure. It is ok to relapse as long as they do not give up and restart their efforts to quit.