It is one thing to voice your hatred of smoking through nagging and criticism, but even the negative thinking inside your head can have far-reaching effects. Doubt and disgust are hard to disguise. Maybe you can cut back on negative comments and even add a lot of positive ones to encourage and reinforce quitting efforts. But if your own thinking stinks, it will most likely seep out through your expressions and unspoken tension. No matter how much you love someone and want to take away a pain or problem or addiction for them, the battle isn't yours, and each situation is a chance for the smoker to learn skills for coping and pressing on as a nonsmoker.
If you assume that a smoker can't quit without lots of outside pressure, or believe that he or she just doesn't care enough to stop for good, only creates a pattern of failure before any smoke-free efforts even get started. Thinking that a two-pack-a-day smoker doesn't stand a chance of quitting is understandable in the face of the odds and statistics, but carrying negative thoughts about a smoker's chance of success is itself kind of toxic.
Anyone can quit smoking. If you doubt it will work for the one you love, try replacing negative thoughts of failure with an image of your future nonsmoker chewing gum instead of lighting up and smelling like fabric softener instead of smoke. Hold onto these thoughts. Be on the side of the ones you love and help them win.
More Great Links
- American Cancer Society. "Helping a Smoker Quit: Do's and Don'ts." Cancer.org. Nov. 3, 2010 (April 29, 2011)http://www.cancer.org/healthy/stayawayfromtobacco/helping-a-smoker-quit
- American Lung Association. "Health Effects." LungUSA.org. 2011. (April 19, 2011)http://www.lungusa.org/stop-smoking/about-smoking/health-effects/
- American Lung Association. "Smoking." LungUSA.org. 2011. (April 19, 2011)http://www.lungusa.org/stop-smoking/about-smoking/health-effects/smoking.html
- American Lung Association. "Stop Smoking." LungUSA.org. 2011. (April 19, 2011)http://www.lungusa.org/stop-smoking/
- American Lung Association. "Tips for Parents." LungUSA.org. 2011. (April 19, 2011)http://www.lungusa.org/stop-smoking/about-smoking/preventing-smoking/for-parents.html
- Association for Psychological Science (APS). "Anger Makes People Want Things More." Nov. 1, 2010. (April 29, 2011)http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/news/releases/anger-makes-people-want-things-more.html
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). "Resources for Individuals, Smoking and Tobacco Use." Feb. 14, 2011. (April 19, 2011)http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/resources_for_you/individuals/index.htm
- Hainer, Ray. "Social Smokers Aren't Hooked on Nicotine, Just Smoking." CNN.com. April 24, 2010. (April 29, 2011)http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/04/24/social.smokers/index.html
- McKinley, Jesse. "Smoking Ban Hits Home. Truly." The New York Times. Jan. 26, 2009. (April 30, 2011)http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/27/us/27belmont.html
- Merriam-Webster. "Nag." 2011. (April 29, 2011)http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nag?show=1&t=1304168476
- National Institutes of Health (NIH). "Quitting Smoking." NIH.gov. April 28, 2011. (May 3, 2011)http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/quittingsmoking.html
- TIME, Health and Science. "The Bright Side of Anger: It Motivates Others." TIME com. Dec. 15, 2010. (April 29, 2011)http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,2037351,00.html
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Surgeon General. "Tobacco Cessation: You Can Quit Smoking Now!" 2011. (April 30, 2011)http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/tobacco/
- World Bank. "Global Trends in Tobacco Use." WorldBank.org. 2011. (April 19, 2011)http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/TOPICS/EXTHEALTHNUTRITIONANDPOPULATION/0,,print:Y~isCURL:Y~contentMDK:22760718~menuPK:282516~pagePK:148956~piPK:216618~theSitePK:282511~isCURL:Y~isCURL:Y,00.html
The FDA recently announced plans to explore nicotine reduction in cigarettes to non-addictive levels. HowStuffWorks takes a look at the possibility.