Monday, August 16, 2010

How to Talk to a Smoker

As a hypnotist who specializes in smoking cessation, I receive several phone calls a month from frustrated, scared spouses, parents, grandparents and friends for advice on how to help the smoker in their lives quit. I feel their fear and frustration, but smokers quit when they are ready and nagging does not help.
Anyone who has a 13 year-old or was a 13 year-old knows that if you nag, the person who you are nagging will just dig his heels into the ground with a “Don’t tell me what to do” scowl. Stop nagging and use a different approach.

I submit the following tips on how to help the smoker in your life quit smoking.

1. In a short (five or ten minutes), poignant conversation, tell the smoker you care about him and you would do anything he asks to help him quit. This is not an intervention. You are telling him how smoking is impacting you and other people (even pets) in the smoker’s life. Be specific: “Our son smart enough now to know the dangers of smoking and he’s scared you are going to die.” “I don’t want to see you wither away from cancer.”

2. Promise that you will never, ever bring the subject of quitting smoking again, until he is ready to discuss it. 

3. Renegotiate your terms. You are doing something hard - you are going to stop nagging. You now have the power to change the arrangement the two of you had. If the smoker smoked in the house, send him outside. If he smoked in the car, ask him to stop. If he’s already smoking outside, you can still change the terms to “never smoke where I can see you or smell you.” The operative word here is “negotiate.” If the smoker says no to your first offer, ask for something else.

4. If you are paying for the cigarettes, on any level, STOP. If your spouse or child is depending on you for an allowance or other funds, tell him you will not fund the smoking habit. Do the math with smoker – “Cigarettes cost $7 a pack and you are smoking a pack a day. That’s $50 a week.” Deduct the amount of the cigarettes from the allowance. If you do not give him an allowance, but he lives rent free, start charging rent, at least the amount of the cigarettes.
(Be fair and give him one month’s warning if you start charging rent.)

5. Do not use children to plead your case or nag for you. You may scare the child or scare her more than she already is. However, if the child has come to you asking, “Why doesn’t daddy quit smoking?” or “I’m afraid Grandpa is going to die because he smokes,” you may refer the child to the smoker to answer the question. “I don’t know the answer, but you can tell Grandpa how you feel about this.”

6. Do not offer to pay for the patches, acupuncture or hypnosis sessions because smokers may say to himself, “If it doesn’t work, it’s not costing me anything.” Smoking costs money and a smoker needs a financial incentive to quit. You can offer to reimburse the cost of the patches or sessions after he has been smoke-free for six months or a year.

7. Keep your promise not to nag.

Monday, August 9, 2010

In The Beginning

Nothing like starting with a cliche.
I am a hypnotist. I’m not a physician; I’m not a psychologist. And clearly, I'm not a writer.
I help people with bad habits – over eating, fear of public speaking, trouble sleeping, etc., and a large part of my hypnosis practice is helping people quit smoking. I have helped hundreds of people quit smoking.
I’m writing this blog so that I could reach more people who want to quit smoking than I can in my one-to-one hypnosis sessions.
I do not care what you do to quit smoking. Just quit! I have a lot to say on this subject and a lot of it will help you quit.
Some options on how to quit:
  • Going Cold Turkey
  • Nicotine Patches
  • Acupuncture
  • Nicotine Gum
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • or Hypnosis 
They all can work for you.
My bias, of course, is toward hypnosis; but I support anything that will help you quit. We will discuss all the smoking cessation modalities in this blog.

Being a smoker is being a pariah. My clients tell me that people shout at them as they stand outside a building. I would never do that to a smoker. I don’t hate smokers -- I help smokers. I’m writing this blog to give the readers - the ones who smoke - information and real support.
(Besides, why would I love a job working with people I hate?)

My Primary Life Goal is to live in a world where the tobacco companies have gone out of business and no one smokes because they don’t want to. 
I will work on my Primary Life Goal until I achieve it. And I will.
Just watch me.