Quit Smoking Even When My Friends Still Smoke
Ultimately, the decision to quit smoking must be yours. Your parents and siblings can’t force you to break your smoking habit, because, chances are, if you quit for them, you will eventually start smoking again. You will face many challenges along the way, including the physical withdrawal from the nicotine. You will need plenty of support from family and friends, especially those who don’t smoke. You have a long road ahead, but you can make the journey as meaningful as the destination.
Fact: Approximately 1,000 young people begin smoking daily. At the same time, 70 percent of adults who smoke want to quit. Every year 40 percent of active smokers try to quit. [Source www.cdc.gov]
Ask one person (parent, older sibling, coach, teacher) to be my personal coach.
In order to successfully tackle this difficult task, you will need a coach-a person who can use his or her authority to offer leadership and guidance, not rules or regulations. Pick someone who won't judge you and someone with whom you can be honest about any failures along the way. If you feel you're being judged, you are more likely to pretend that everything is going according to plan.
Ask my personal coach to make a specific promise in writing about one way he or she will help me quit smoking.
This is likely to involve looking out for you and helping you avoid certain situations. Here are some examples of a promise your coach could make:
I will answer the phone when you call so that I can help you talk about how you feel.
I will not take you to places where others are smoking.
I will not allow anyone to smoke in our house (if your coach is a parent or sibling).
If you are in a situation where you find it difficult not to smoke, I will leave with you right away. If I am not with you, I will come and get you as quickly as I can.
Make a list of reasons for quitting.
This needs to be your own personal list-not one that your parents or friends create. Write down every reason you can think of to quit smoking, no matter how trivial it may seem. Common reasons for quitting are related to saving money, improving health, a personal sense of accomplishment, and freedom from the control of an addiction. After you have written the list, hang it somewhere you will see it throughout every day.
Make plans to spend more time with friends who don't smoke.
Limiting your exposure to friends who smoke may be the toughest thing to do, but it may also be the most effective in helping you quit. If your friends tend to be smokers, it may be time to create some new friendships with nonsmokers. If you are always hanging out with people who smoke, you will tend to fall back into the habit of smoking, just by being around others who smoke. Start spending more time in places where you can't smoke: restaurants, stores, movie theaters, churches, etc.
Go on line to research information about quitting smoking.
Smokefree.gov provides free, accurate, evidence-based information and professional assistance. The following sites are designed specifically for teens:
No Tobacco.org. This Web site, created by The Foundation for a Smokefree America, is designed for teens.
Truth on the Road. This organization goes to sports and music festivals, where they “give out free truth apparel and spread a little truth about Big Tobacco and its products.” The Web site does the same.
Helpful hint: Ask your personal coach to research with you. He or she may know of some resources that you haven’t heard about.
Ask my mom or dad to make an appointment with my doctor.
When your parent calls to make the appointment, ask your mom or dad to speak with a nurse and explain why you are coming. Your parent can ask the nurse questions you might have ahead of time to help you prepare for the appointment. Be sure to include questions about smoking-cessation medications, even if these are over-the-counter.
Note: If you are old enough to drive yourself but still young enough to be living at home, you can decide if you want a parent to accompany you to the appointment. You may need to discuss insurance copays and doctor’s fees with your parents.
Before the appointment: Prepare for the appointment by writing down any questions you may have for the doctor.
At the doctor’s office: Since your parent may be tempted to talk with the doctor during the appointment, you should go in and talk to the doctor alone at first. Explain to the doctor (nurse or physician’s assistant) that your mom or dad would like to talk with the doctor at the end of the appointment.
Choose a Quitting Day.
Now that you have information to help you quit, the next step is to set an actual date. Once the date is set, plan ahead for the big day:
Plan activities that you can do that day to keep you busy (to take your mind off smoking). These can be with your family, friends, or personal coach. However, the activities should be ones that will not place you in a smoking environment. The activities should also reduce the temptation to smoke.
Get rid of all cigarettes, lighters, matches, and tobacco products. Try to think of all the places where these items might be stashed—even purses, bags, and jackets that have not been used in a long time.
Tell your friends and family members about the plan to quit smoking. This will help to keep you accountable to many more people.
Write an action plan for dealing with tempting situations.
Think about situations that make you want to smoke. It may be that most of your friends smoke. There may be places you often go together, where you used to smoke. Now you have to figure out how to be with those friends, or in those places, and not smoke. Be honest about the places where you usually smoked and then write down a plan of action for dealing with the urge to smoke in those places.
Helpful hint: If you feel you need some help with writing a plan of action, ask your personal coach for some assistance.
Choose specific milestones and a corresponding reward.
Perhaps you will promise yourself a certain reward after one week, one month, six months, and then a year. Each of these rewards should be reasonable based on your own resources and the level of difficulty you have faced in reaching the goal. The rewards should be specifically stated upfront. Write them down, and reward yourself when you accomplish each milestone.
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