Positively encouraging someone, especially a friend or loved one to stop smoking is one of the most frustrating things to do. It seems any approach you deliver is met with a defensive attack, or just falls Positively encouraging someone, especially a friend or loved one to stop smoking is one of the most frustrating things to do.
It seems any approach you deliver is met with a defensive attack, or just falls on deaf ears. In fact, you may try so much that you grow weary, thinking that your words have no effect, no impact and why waste your breath? You may feel nothing will work, no words can convey the truth and importance to that person. Well I encourage you to never give up on that close person. Although it may seem your words have no reasoning, they hear you.
Around seven years ago while I was attending college, my favorite professor was a long time smoker. His job, the atmosphere, lifestyle, all contributed to his ease of continuing his smoking habit. I felt for this guy, I was closest to him more than any of my other professors by far, and it pained me to see him over those years smoking. I could see the extra stress, the mental and physical strain on him from smoking, and knew how much better his indubitable personality and spirit would be minus the habit. I didn’t judge him, I just cared about him and wanted to help.
He was a very intelligent and articulate person, so I never felt like I was wasting my time. Now I remember brief conversations with him about him knowing the importance, and wanting to quit, but nothing lengthy or significant. I never wanted to sound pushy, or like I’m better than a smoker, because that’s never my message. It’s a fine line.
I came across some fliers at a doctor’s office from the American Cancer Society. Inside, it just simply listed a timeline from the minutes you stop smoking your last cigarette to fifteen years after, and what changes occur within the body. I was blown away, and I had no idea these things; it was amazing. So one day I casually handed one to the professor, and I believe I just simply said how I came across them and found them incredibly interesting and enlightening, that’s it.
I graduated and stayed in touch with the professor via facebook, as much as that can mean staying in touch with someone. Just a few years back almost out of nowhere I get a personal message from him that reads like this:
“Hey! I simply needed to tell you that I did indeed FINALLY quit smoking back in January! I have remembered your advice many times and the info you shared with me. I feel so much healthier even after six months as a non-smoker! I was quite surprised by your interest in my habit at the time but now just want to say thanks……so, Thanks!”
For him to take the time to reach out and give thanks is beyond words. It gave me an incredible feeling and emotion I had never felt before. All those years, you just never know how your words impact someone, or if they do. I believed in the professor, and knew that when he got to the right point in his life he would take the time and effort to go after quitting. Sometimes you just have to give that positive reinforcement, and nothing else, give them their time and their terms…but don’t give up on them, don’t quit!
Below is the actual information inside the pamphlet, taken from directly from www.cancer.org
- 20 minutes after quitting Your heart rate and blood pressure drop. (Effect of smoking on arterial stiffness and pulse pressure amplification, Mahmud A, Feely J. 2003. Hypertension:41:183)
- 12 hours after quitting The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal. (US Surgeon General’s Report, 1988, p. 202)
- 2 weeks to 3 months after quitting Your circulation improves and your lung function increases. (US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, pp.193, 194,196, 285, 323)
- 1 to 9 months after quitting Coughing and shortness of breath decrease; cilia (tiny hair-like structures that move mucus out of the lungs) start to regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce the risk of infection. (US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, pp. 285-287, 304) 1 year after quitting The excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a continuing smoker’s. (US Surgeon General’s Report, 2010, p. 359)
- 5 years after quitting Risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder are cut in half. Cervical cancer risk falls to that of a non-smoker. Stroke risk can fall to that of a non-smoker after 2-5 years. (A Report of the Surgeon General: How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease – The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease Fact Sheet, 2010; Tobacco Control: Reversal of Risk After Quitting Smoking. IARC Handbooks of Cancer Prevention, Vol. 11. 2007, p 341)
- 10 years after quitting The risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a person who is still smoking. The risk of cancer of the larynx and pancreas decreases. (A Report of the Surgeon General: How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease – The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease Fact Sheet, 2010; and US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, pp. vi, 155, 165)
- 15 years after quitting The risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker’s. (Tobacco Control: Reversal of Risk After Quitting Smoking. IARC Handbooks of Cancer Prevention, Vol. 11. 2007. p 11)
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