College hoops fans, how’s your bracket looking this year? Even if you’re not a basketball super fan, you’ve likely been invited to fill out a tournament bracket. You’ve done your homework– studied up on the star players, the favorites, and the Cinderella teams predicted to go far in the tournament.
Why not apply the same winning strategy to support your quitter? In a 2014 survey conducted by the American Lung Association and Pfizer of 146 US adults who were trying to quit, 80 percent reported that support from others, including friends, family, significant others and even coworkers, is very important to quitting successfully. But like the 68 teams in the tournament, every quitter has their own strengths and challenges. So get to know your quitter, and find out how you can be their #1 supporter.
Is your quitter….
For quitters accustomed to reaching out for a cigarette when under stress, it’s important they have an alternate coping plan. You can help by offering to listen and talk out their stress or show them some breathing exercises. Invite your quitter to go for a walk or make them a Quit Kit packed with essentials like gum and healthy snacks to help them out when they feel the urge to smoke.
Worried about weight gain?
Remind your quitter that the average person who quits smoking gains between 4 and 10 pounds. Regular exercise and a healthy diet can help your quitter maintain a healthy weight. Help motivate your quitter to adopt a more healthy lifestyle: go shopping together for healthy groceries, make dates to workout together or go for walks.
In need of motivation?
We all need a little extra encouragement from time to time. Check in regularly with your quitter and remind them that you believe in them. Help your quitter think about all the benefits of quitting smoking--- sense of taste and smell returning to normal, improved lung function, reduced risk of heart disease, less time away from friends and loved one for smoke breaks, and how about all the money saved?
Experiencing withdrawal symptoms?
Don’t take it personally if your quitter isn’t feeling as cheerful. When you quit smoking your body doesn't get the nicotine it expects. As a result, you may experience physical withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can be urges to smoke, anger, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. Help them remember that many withdrawal symptoms are temporary and to keep their eyes on the prize: a healthier, smoke-free life.
Whatever the challenges, you can be the assist to your quitter’s smokefree journey!