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Why You Shouldn't Let Your Family Pressure You to Stop Smoking

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If you smoke, chances are good you’re aware of the risks and don’t need to be told. But that won’t stop your family and friends from reminding you! Whether you’re about to throw in the towel and are determined to start on your journey to quit any day now or you still haven’t made up your mind to do so, no matter where you land on the spectrum, getting pressure from family and friends doesn’t help. “With any addictive behavior, if someone needs to make a change, it needs to come from within themselves,” says Indra Cidambi, M.D., medical director, Center for Network Therapy. “The family can be a support, but nagging to quit smoking can actually increase resistance to the idea. However, once the decision to quit has been made, then emotional encouragement from family will play a big part.”

If you would like to quit smoking but are struggling to work up the motivation, there are some strategies to help get you there. “When anybody wants to quit smoking, the most important thing that he or she needs to ask is why they want to quit and why now?” Dr. Cidambi says. Once you have that motivation all set, next you need to come up with a strategy to wean yourself off of nicotine, explains Dr. Cidambi. Nicorette can help — the gum provides craving relief and engages your mouth, plus it reduces withdrawal symptoms. Finally, pick a firm and final date to quit.

In the meantime, before you kick the habit, Dr. Cidambi shares ways to politely tell family members to stop pestering you about quitting smoking:

How to Tell Your Family to Stop Pressuring You to Quit Smoking

Be blunt. “One thing they can say if they are being nagged by loved ones is tell them directly, ‘I do not appreciate your feedback. I understand I need to quit smoking, but I will get to it when I’m ready,’” Dr. Cidambi advises. “Be direct and tell them it’s not helping you.” Explain that it would actually be more useful if they dropped it.

Use humor. “Bringing in humor takes the power out of their hands,” she says. “Laughing it out makes it easier. When you get irritated, you need to make it fun.”

Ask for a plan. If these strategies aren’t working, and someone still isn’t taking the hint, you might need to take it up a notch. “To take it to the next level; ask the person who is nagging you to come up with a plan,” suggests Dr. Cidambi. “Say, ‘Stop telling me to quit. What do you suggest? Have you done something like this? Has it worked for you or anyone that you know?’ Involving them in the process makes it less of a nagging.”

Get their reasons. “When a family member or friend starts nagging, ask them, ‘What is your reason for asking me today to quit smoking?’” Dr. Cidambi says. “Make them exhaust the list. Have them justify why they are saying this is the right step. So, when you ask people why they are advising this to you, they have to do the work. Plus, when you see they are making an effort and they love you, you might think, ‘Why can’t I meet them halfway and finally quit smoking?’”

Quitting is a journey that only you can take and only you can decide when the time is right. When you’re ready, Nicorette is there for you.