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Via: OfferingHope.Org

By David Klarberg, FNP-BC

St. Hope Foundation

A common source of contention between patients and providers is the issue of smoking cessation. We all know this can be one of the single most important health risk reductions possible, but it is also a sore subject clouded with much doubt. Clients may feel inclined to under-report the activity due to fear of judgment or criticism, while providers may tend to overlook this in the assumption they will not be successful in creating a lasting change. With my clients, I find it most helpful to do a comprehensive assessment of those factors which may lead to greater and lesser likelihoods of success; this enables a much better degree of cooperation when discussing plans to stop smoking. I think the most critical elements of this assessment center around 5 questions which anyone can use to decide if now is a good time to attempt tobacco cessation.

  1. How “in control” of your life do you feel? This is an honest question. Nicotine is highly addictive, as is the act of smoking. Quitting, either with nicotine replacement (patches, gum), a prescription medication like Chantix or Wellbutrin, or cold turkey, will test your will and surely cause a good deal of frustration. Your perseverance has to be enough to keep you going and focused on the goal.
  2. What are your goals and motivations? Having a purpose for your goal is another key to success. Whether it is to improve your overall health, or that of your family, friends, or community, finding the inner drive to motivate you is a big help.
  3. Are you really just done with smoking overall? I commonly tell clients that if they do not really want to stop, then now is not a good time to stop. Although relapse after quitting is associated with higher overall success rates, one must be honest with themselves above all things. If you WANT to smoke, you will smoke, so this is where you have to retrain your thought process and identify that “X-Factor” which makes you crave smoking, and eliminate it. This is much easier said than done, but careful analysis of the routines can help identify many problem areas.
  4. What are your keys to success? What are the things that are going to keep you on track? Patches? A phone-in quit line? Chantix? It is important to talk to your healthcare provider about all the products available for smokers, and set up realistic expectations about their effectiveness. The intervention is only as strong as what the smoker buys into so make sure the plan is an enticing and agreeable one.
  5. Can you feasibly see your life without smoking? Last but not least, encourage the client to plan, plan, plan! The smoker who may spend less time worrying about the amount they smoke, and more time brainstorming and refining their ultimate quitting plan will likely have greater success. It is very important to view each day as its own; some days will be better than others. But do not get discouraged, even with slip-ups. Keep focused of the end goal.

When applied, the above mentioned factors have resulted in lasting cessation for many of my clients. Discussing your plans to either quit in the future or continue smoking should be discussed with your healthcare provider.

For more information on how to begin forming your stop smoking plan CLICK HERE.