Friday, September 02, 2011

Good Reasons to Quit Smoking

Personally, I can't think of any good reasons to start smoking, but there are plenty of people who have started and either can't quit or don't want to.  I was reading an article the other day that listed some good reasons to quit smoking, and I thought I'd share.

The article started with a story shared by a doctor.  His grandmother had smoked her entire life, but in her late 60s, she and his grandfather moved into a new house with new drapes.  She quit smoking overnight because 'there was no way that she would get nicotine stains on her new drapes.'  What he was trying to say was that the only reason to quit smoking that truly matters - or works - is the one that matters to you.  Consequences such as death, or others that seem far off or abstract, often just aren't persuasive enough.

Perhaps one of these will be a good enough reason?
  1. Avoiding wheelchair retirement - Smoking will kill you, right?  But what if it doesn't kill you, just has you stuck in a wheelchair with an oxygen tank because you have emphysema.  Is that how you want to spend your retirement?
  2. Keeping your family healthy - Smokers can argue all they want about the effects of second-hand smoke, but the facts say that smoke contains 250 toxic chemicals.  It causes lung cancer and heart disease in non-smokers and breathing problems like asthma in children.  It can harm anyone who's breathing, and most of all those who are close to you.  Also, a 2009 Harvard School of Public Health study found that children who were 12 or younger when their parents were smoking were nearly four times more likely to start smoking than the children of nonsmokers.  Do you really want to be the reason your child starts smoking?
  3. Smelling sweeter - Let's face it, smokers stink!  Would having your child or grandchild say, "I don't want to hug you because you smell like an ashtray" be enough to make you quit?
  4. Saving money - This is a huge one, at least to me.  I've always said that even if I wanted to smoke, I wouldn't be able to do it because I'm too cheap.  The article says that the average price of a pack of cigarettes nationwide is $5.51, and that doesn't include local cigarette or sales taxes.  With those added, a pack of cigarettes can cost $11 in a state like New York.  $11!  Even at the base price of $5.51, a pack-a-day smoker spends more than $2000 a year.  Wouldn't that money be better spent on something else?  Rent, food, gas, a down payment on a car....
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  1. @Lady Banana - if you REALLY want him to quit, stop making him wrong. Unless, of course, what you really want is to punish him first for ever having started to begin with. That makes it all the more difficult for him to quit, but at least there would be some kind of logic to the censure.

    You mean well, I know, but make-wrong (judgment) activates oppositional behavior that no amount of logic can overcome. THAT's the reason "so many fail to quit." Brain science.

    Do either of you honestly believe there is anything you can say that will be NEW info to a smoker? Its not about information and its not about logic. It's about stress and struggle and "expensive" coping mechanisms. Breaking a habit is HARD. Overcoming an addiction is harder.

    Smokers need sympathy, understanding and SUPPORT for the behaviors you and the smoker would BOTH like to see INCREASED (see if you can give up just one more of your cigarettes every day this week, keep trying, you can do it!) - not judgment and censure for the behaviors you want stopped coupled with another fear-mongering lecture. I promise, they're already afraid - mostly of failure.

    Motivational science has moved beyond "motivating away from" to "motivating toward" because that's the way the brain rewires, that's how resolve is strengthened, and THAT's how bad habits are broken. People smoke to cope with negative emotions. Life gives them enough of those moments - counselors and doctors and loved ones don't do ANYBODY any favors by upping the emotional ante.

    Beating a horse to get him to run might work initially, but it won't work forever. And it makes for a mean horse! "Mean horses" rush for relief. Logic will be discounted and they will turn a deaf ear to ALL of your statistics (after all, not EVERYONE who smokes dies). That approach will never, never, never work for long-term results as reliably as baby-stepped, really-no-kidding SUPPORT.

    Save all your "wonderful reasons" to keep kids and young adults from ever starting, taking care with language and tone that you don't activate THEIR oppositional behavior (especially likely with teens!) -- nix the the judgment if you're more concerned about their their physical health (and yours) than being right.

    Tough love isn't. Think about it.
    mgh (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, SCAC, MCC - blogging at ADDandSoMuchMore and ADDerWorld - dot com!)

  2. It really does take a good plan to quit smoking and that you could follow through, but one has to have the motivation and will power. Thanks for the info.


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