How Can You Help a Client Stop Smoking Cigarettes?
Cigarettes and addiction recovery tend to go hand in hand. There’s a long-standing culture of smoking cigarettes or using nicotine patches in treatment. The belief is that cigarettes are a lesser evil than the client’s preferred substance.
Although cigarettes may not be as life-destroying and harmful as many other addictive substances, nicotine is incredibly habit-forming and should be handled accordingly.
So, how can you help your client stop smoking cigarettes during and after treatment?
One of the most important things you can do as a medical professional is to have patience with your client. Understanding that cigarettes and nicotine have a long history with addiction recovery is just part of the battle.
Recognize that your client will need time to make the leap and decide to quit smoking. Be patient and offer your support and guidance along the way. Your encouragement could make the difference between a long and short recovery.
Along with being patient, you should start small when approaching quitting cigarettes with your client. Start by asking the client about their tobacco use. Advise them to quit and address if they’d like to or if they’re ready to quit. From there, you can create a quitting plan for your client and create a follow-up date.
The plan may start with the client taking one day off from smoking. Again, starting small is okay for both you and your client. Helping your client achieve small goals will increase their self-confidence. The goal here is to have your client quit smoking successfully and maintain healthier habits long-term.
Set a Quit Date
During the process of helping your client quit cigarettes, you may want to set a quit date with your client. This ensures there’s no grey area between you and your client. Whether you or your client selects the date is up to you. Nonetheless, this is an important step.
Solve the Root Issues
One of the things you can do to help your clients successfully quit smoking cigarettes is to resolve the root issue of why they smoke in the first place. Ask them why they started and why they enjoy it.
Bring awareness to their emotions and patterns surrounding their smoking habits. This will allow your client to understand their habits better and develop plans to change them.
Smoking is often a habitual act. Whether it’s with morning coffee or on the commute to work, smoking is typically paired with something.
Develop plans to change your client’s smoking habits. Replace what would’ve been a cigarette with something healthier. Breaking these habits can change how your clients view themselves. Once your client can view themselves with more confidence, they’ll start to have an easier time abstaining from cigarettes.
Offer Additional Support Options
Offering additional support options to your client during this time can aid them on their journey. Connecting them to support groups and meetings surrounding smoking cessation can benefit them tremendously. Even 12-Step groups can be used in conjunction with quitting cigarettes.
Use Different Strategies
Using different cognitive strategies with your client is another way to help them quit smoking. Having your clients list personal reasons why they want to stop can reinforce their goals and beliefs. These reasons don’t need to be excessive but should be meaningful and have an impact.
Find Unique Solutions
As mentioned earlier, smoking is habitual. Consider offering your clients stress balls or other fidget toys to replace the comforting feeling of a cigarette in their hands. Alternatively, flavored toothpicks and gum can be used to replace the sensation of having a cigarette in their mouth.
Although nicotine gums and patches contain nicotine, they may help in the long run. These aids shouldn’t be used indefinitely and have negatives of their own. That said, some individuals can significantly benefit from these aids along with their counseling. This is a method that should be considered carefully.
Most Importantly, Try Again
With building new habits and quitting negative behaviors, it’s essential always to try again. Continuously encourage your client to succeed.
Remember, relapse is not a reflection of who they are, their character, or your methods. A fall from grace does not mark the end of the world and, unfortunately, can be par for the course. Try new strategies and attack the problem with firm resolve.
This will ensure your client understands you are serious about their success.
Unfortunately, cigarettes and addiction recovery go hand in hand. They have a long-standing history together, and the stigma can be hard to break. However, cigarettes are destructive in the long run. Even a lesser evil can be detrimental to our clients. Therefore, it is crucial that we aid our clients in turning over new leaves in every aspect of their lives.
At The Edge Treatment Center, we believe every individual is capable of significant change. Through our program, our clients learn necessary life skills, coping strategies and create meaningful relationships. If you are interested in referring a client to our program or want more information, call us today at (800) 778-1772.