Sunday, May 18, 2008

Stop Smoking: Help for Closet Smokers

When Steve took the trash out, his wife would comment that he smelled like smoke. It was always from a neighbor that he ran into. After Richard's heart surgery, his wife found a pack of cigarettes in his bathrobe. She thought he had quit.

After my cancer experience, even smokers would bug me to quit, after all, I had been treated for cancer. When I relapsed again, I didn't want to hear any comments from my fellow workers, so I would take any opportunity to run errands, so I could smoke.

I was a closet smoker and so are Steve and Richard. They hide their behavior because they do not want their friends and family to nag them about their smoking. Every smoker knows it's bad for their health but the addiction to nicotine is a powerful one.

Don't get angry at the closet smoker, get angry at the product that has caused their addiction. Closet smokers feel a range of emotions from failure and guilt to indignation and self-righteousness. What you don't want to do is escalate the situation. If confronted, the closet smoker will likely tell you to "BUTT OUT!"
But that doesn't mean that they don't want to quit but they don't feel comfortable talking to you about it.

I was a closet smoker and I eventually was able to quit. Steve also quit but unfortunately, Richard died a smoker. So how can you help? There are many ways to help a closet smoker, but nagging isn't one of them.

In my book, "Butt Out" there are many ideas that you can start to help your closet smoker move towards quitting. There are also scripts that give you the words that won't offend, threaten or alienate the person you love.

Believe in progress, not perfection.

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