Getting your dad to stop smoking must begin with helping him break nicotine dependence. It helps to seek as much information as possible regarding nicotine addiction and how to help and support smokers to quit. Also, find out his values. Then, point out how the habit contradicts some of them.
According to a 2019 survey by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 14% of US adults (nearly 34.1 million people) currently smoked cigarettes. Although the figures indicate a decline because more adults (21%) smoked in 2005 than in 2019, smoking is still a problem in the country.
It could be that someone close to you, like your dad, is part of this statistic, and you wish to help him stop indulging in the act; then the question is, how do you stop him from smoking?
Most smokers get hooked to the habit because of nicotine addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, nicotine addiction compels smokers to seek and use the drug even with full knowledge of attendant adverse health effects. This is why most find it impossible to quit the habit.
Why Do Dads Pick Up the Smoking Habit?
If smoking kills and, according to the World Health Organization, and can lead to poverty by hijacking household income, why would anyone pick the habit?
As with any other addictive behavior, smoking catches its victims by surprise. This is because one cannot tell when they are sinking into addiction. Often, few people can identify the main reason why they started smoking.
However, for those that do, the following factors explain the root of the behavior.
1. Dealing With Emotions
According to research, psychosocial stress is the leading factor for cigarette smoking. Indeed, stress affects every human being, but the difference arises in how people deal with the resulting emotional disturbance.
Unfortunately, some elect to smoke as a means to reducing stress. As per the research, nicotine, which is an abundant substance in tobacco, affects the users’ mood positively by acting on the chemistry of the central nervous system and the brain. By flooding the brain’s reward mechanism with dopamine, a neurotransmitter responsible for pleasurable chemical messages, nicotine gives users an adrenaline rush.
So, if one was listless from emotional stress, a puff of smoke could go a long way to change the mood. Even better, nicotine reaches the brain in seconds after the puff. However, the effect is transient and short-lasting, which leads to discomfort and the urge to light up another cigarette.
Some pick up the smoking habit from the activities of daily life. For example, let’s say one enjoys watching a particular program on TV with heavy smokers that appears in the evening or hangs out with friends at a specific time during which they indulge in several rolls. Then, one begins to build a pattern of smoking.
Patterns are difficult to identify, especially if they are infused in our day-to-day lives. That is why one might find it offensive to be labeled a smoker when they think they only do it occasionally.
Addiction is the mother of all the reasons people smoke. Unfortunately, it arises from seemingly harmless things such as smoking to relieve stress or as a pattern in daily living.
As mentioned earlier, nicotine helps reduce stress by inducing an adrenaline rush. This process is often quick because the substance dissolves into the brain tissue within 10 seconds of taking a puff. However, this factor is also the primary cause of addiction.
According to the American Cancer Society, the unending urge to flood the brain with dopamine increasingly pushes the body’s nicotine limit. As such, smokers tend to raise the amount of nicotine consumption with time to achieve better results. Unfortunately, keeping the needed effect in a comfortable range leads to tobacco dependence, technically called tobacco addiction.
What Authorities Are Doing to Control Tobacco Dependence
Many governments acknowledge the shocking effects of smoking addiction. As such, they have initiated measures to control tobacco dependence at both domestic and international levels. Domestically, each country has a unique program but with similar goals.
Internationally, organizations such as WHO have taken the lead to spearhead the war against smoking addiction. For example, WHO guided its members to design and adopt the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) in 2003. The 182-party convention covers over 90% of the world population.
The treaty’s primary objective is to promote public health. To this end, the treaty introduced the MPOWER program. MPOWER is a mnemonic of the six measures through which WHO aims to scale up the implementation of the WHO FCTC cost-effectively. They are:
M – Monitor tobacco use and prevention policies
P – Protect people from tobacco use
O – Offer help to quit tobacco use
W – Warn about the dangers of tobacco
E – Enforce bans on tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship
R – Raise taxes on tobacco
So far, MPOWER has shown signs of success. For example, you may recall that the number of current adult smokers in the US reduced from 21% in 2005 to 14% in 2019. However, it is fair to say that MPOWER alone is not responsible for the shift because, as stated earlier, most governments worldwide have similar domestic-level programs.
What Individuals Can Do to Quit Tobacco Dependence
Despite the efforts by government and non-government actors, the burden of controlling and eventual avoidance of tobacco dependence falls on individual smokers. However, one must realize that trying to quit smoking is energy-sapping, but you can do anything if you put your back into it.
1. Seek Information About Nicotine Replacements
It is always helpful to seek medical advice when you reach the point of no return concerning smoking. Seeking medical help is the first step in the critical process of acknowledging smoking addiction. The good thing is that you will become better informed and have more strength to tackle the habit.
When seeking medical help, you may also seek information about possible treatments, such as nicotine replacement therapy. Nicotine replacement therapy entails the use of short-acting nicotine therapies, including lozenges, prescription medications like varenicline, and prescription nicotine.
2. Watch Out For Triggers
If you started smoking due to peer pressure, be sure that the nicotine urge will be strongest when hanging out in a similar environment. Likewise, those who picked up the habit when relieving stress might also crave smoking when feeling lethargic.
It is, therefore, critical that you avoid setting yourself up for a relapse. This means avoiding situations like wild parties where revelers include heavy smokers. Also, it helps to find better stress-combatting techniques, like going out for a swim, watching a movie, or talking to a friend.
3. Practice Delayed Gratification
In a study about instant gratification and gambling in Uganda, researchers established that the country’s sports betting demographic is dominated by low-income earning youths who have too much free time and inadequate supervision. According to the researchers, the youth lack a saving culture, and in which place they prefer instant consumption of their measly earnings.
The overarching finding of the study is that susceptibility to instant gratification in one sphere of life eventually extends to one’s entire existence. In other words, an individual who cannot delay indulging in consumption is less likely to avoid smoking or engaging in any other addictive behavior.
As such, you are more potent in quitting smoking if you practice delaying indulging your tobacco craving. For example, you could tell yourself to wait for 10-20 minutes when you feel the urge to smoke and then find something to distract yourself.
The good news is that smokers can quit for good. According to a recent report by the United States Surgeon General, there have been more former smokers than current smokers in the country since 2002. Nonetheless, one must be ready for a bruising battle with withdrawal, both mentally and physically.