Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The 5 "R's" to Helping Motivate A Smoker to Quit

If you have a smoker in your life that you have been trying to get them to quit by nagging, blaming and shaming, BUTT OUT. Those tactics don't work, if they did, no one would be smoking since every smoker has at least one person nagging them. Instead, listen to the smoker and keep these 5 "R's" in mind. This list was originally a remind for healthcare workers when talking to their patients, so adapt the framework to fit your situation with the smoker in your life. If you are a smoker, take the time to make your own list:

1. Relevance: Provide information that has the greatest impact on the patient’s disease status, family or social situation (e.g., children and second-hand smoke), health concerns, age or gender.

2. Risks:

  • Acute risks: shortness of breath, exacerbation of asthma, harm to pregnancy, impotence, infertility, increased blood carbon monoxide, bacterial pneumonia; increased risk for surgery
  • Long-term risks: heart attacks, strokes, lung and other cancers, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, long-term disability and need for extended care
  • Environmental risks: increased risks of lung cancer and heart disease in spouses; higher rate of smoking by children of tobacco users; increased risk of low birth weight babies, SIDS, asthma, middle ear disease, and respiratory infections in children of smokers

3. Rewards: Highlight benefits most relevant to the patient, such as better health, improved sense of taste and smell, money saved, good example for children, more physically fit, and reduced wrinkling and aging of skin.

4. Roadblocks: Ask the patient to identify barriers to quitting, such as withdrawal symptoms, fear of failure, weight gain, lack of support and depression. Note elements of cessation treatment, such as problem solving or pharmacotherapy.

5. Repetition: Repeat the motivational intervention each time the patient has an office visit. Let the patient know that most people make repeated attempts to quit before they are finally successful.

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