One of your loved ones wants to quit smoking, and you would like to support them in their anti-smoking approach? An addictologist doctor gives you some tips to accompany him without rushing him…
According to the 2022 report from Santé Publique France, 12 million French people smoke daily. But among them, 9 million say they are “ready to quit”; how to help a father, a brother, a sister or even a child to say “goodbye” to tobacco? Here are the recommendations of Dr. Barbara Devignes, addictologist doctor.
1 – Avoid conflict
Faced with a father, a brother, a best friend… who has trouble quitting smoking, we are sometimes tempted to fall into conflict: emotional blackmail (“Do you realize the harm you are doing to me / that you are you doing to your children / what are you doing to our family?”), ultimatums (“if you don’t stop smoking, it’s over between us!”) or even low blows (hide the cigarettes of the person concerned). ..
Yes, but here it is:the conflict, whether frontal or not, is useless in the face of a person suffering from smoking: it is an addiction, not a lifestyle choice!“recalls Dr. Barbara Devignes. At best, the person turns on himself; at worst, he is comforted in his addiction.
2 – Do not resort to fear
“If you don’t stop smoking, you’ll get lung cancer”, “cigarettes also harm your children, do you know that?”, “Can you imagine that tobacco is responsible for a lot of deadly diseases. ..”
These little phrases that aim to arouse fear often start from a good intention: we want to convince the person to quit smoking for their own good and that of those around them! “In addictology, we do not work by fear: it has little impact, we rarely obtain good results via this lever“remarks however Dr. Barbara Devignes.
3 – Press the positive
“To help a loved one quit smoking, the best thing is to tell them all the benefits they will get from quitting smoking: save money, be healthier, breathe healthier air, have less yellow teeth , be able to exercise longer, snore less, rediscover the taste of food…“explains the addictologist doctor. In summary: be po-si-tive.
Are you running out of arguments? On the official Tobacco Info Service website, all the benefits of quitting smoking are listed and explained!
4 – Be patient
How long does it take to quit smoking? “It really depends on the people answers Dr. Devignes. In some people, a click can lead to quitting smoking overnight. For others, it will take months or even years. Quitting smoking is a difficult process, it is wrong to say that it is only a question of will!“
When trying to support a loved one who is trying to say “goodbye” to smoking, the best thing is therefore to arm yourself with patience… and to avoid murderous remarks such as “the neighbor managed to quit in two weeks, him!
5 – Tolerate relapses
“In addictology, we usually say that relapse is part of the process: it is perfectly normal to “relapse” when trying to quit smoking!remarks Dr. Devignes.
For someone trying to say “goodbye” to smoking, a relapse can have devastating consequences on self-esteem: “no need to put your loved one down any further, they probably feel bad enough as it is – whether it’s visible or not” underlines the addictologist. Once again, patience and understanding…
6 – Open doors
It can be difficult to quit smoking on your own. Good news: many health professionals are now able to support smokers in quitting smoking – general practitioner, midwife, dentist…”If you want to help your loved one say “goodbye” to smoking, you can suggest an appointment with a doctor. It’s about opening a door, showing a possibility“reacts Dr. Devignes.
Attention ! No question of making an appointment in place of the person concerned: the latter could feel “trapped” and refuse the outstretched hand. “Instead, you can bring home leaflets, business cards… to guide the smoker who does not necessarily know who to contact.“
In addition, certain digital applications can complement support from a healthcare professional in smoking cessation (Tobacco Info Service, Quitoxil®, etc.).
Thanks to Dr. Barbara Devignes, addiction doctor in Hauts-de-France.