Helping Your Aging Parents Quit Smoking
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Helping Your Aging Parents Quit Smoking

           Everyone alive is aware of the harmful effects of smoking, but the problem with nicotine addiction is that just being informed as to the negative health outcomes isn’t necessarily enough to stop. Any doctor under the sun will suggest for you to quit smoking, and your loved ones will certainly feel much better in their twilight years living a smoke-free lifestyle. But wanting to quit and actually quitting successfully are two different animals.    Consider the following ways you can support and help facilitate your loved ones’ desire to give up their smoking habit.

            The first thing to know and understand is just how hard quitting smoking is to do. Nicotine is just as detrimental to mental health as it is to physical health. It physically alters the pathways in our brains, which is why people who use it habitually become addicted and feel dependent upon it. The enticing effect of nicotine has been described as a chronic brain disorder, so the difficulties of it must be understood. The fact that the journey of quitting will be a real challenge and a significant accomplishment must be taken into account.

            Because of the ways in which nicotine affects the brain, it’s also important to recognize that quitting smoking is a process that will continue for a lifetime. In the immediate moments after quitting, it will take significant time and effort to enact this lifestyle change, and then over the long term it will take time to retrain their brain to replace smoking with healthier habits and behaviors

            While the reasons for quitting smoking may be obvious to you, the person who is actually quitting smoking will have to have their own reasons for doing so. Everyone is equally aware of the dangers of tobacco, and we all want our loved ones to quit smoking for the same reasons. But with your individual loved one, you’ll have to talk to them about their own personal motivations.

            By understanding their reasons for quitting you’ll be better able to remind them what they’re working towards when they need support. You can use that understanding to ensure they stay motivated, and keep them inspired to keep going.

            According to the statistics, 70% of adult smokers in the United States want to quit smoking cigarettes. But the struggle is in ending a habit that sends positive reward messages to the brain. Stopping smoking is a huge life change for many people, most of whom have been smoking regularly for years. Put yourself in your loved one’s shoes and be sympathetic to their struggles in quitting smoking. Most smokers fail in their first attempt at quitting smoking, and a sizable percentage must try multiple times before succeeding. In some studies, smokers have taken up to thirty tries before they quit for good.

            It is fair and realistic to say that there will undoubtedly be difficulties as someone begins attempting to quit smoking, and there will certainly be awkward moments. But it is essential as friends and family members that we be there to listen to and support them.