Nov. 15, the Thursday before Thanksgiving, is Great American Smoke Out Day. This day encourages and challenges people to quit smoking or vaping for a 24-hour period. Abstaining from using cigarettes or e-cigarettes for the day can boost one’s confidence and inspire a long-term quit attempt.

Quitting smoking or vaping can be a difficult process and one of the biggest challenges a person may ever face. The nicotine found in cigarettes and e-cigarette products is highly addictive, physically and psychologically.

When it comes to quitting, the people around us can make a big difference. The role of social support is as a predictor of long-term success. Someone who feels supported is more likely to quit and stay quit. Leaning on others can help lighten the load — that’s why friends, family members and co-workers can play a big part in helping a person become smoke or vape free.

As you plan your quit, think about what kind of support you need. Is it a check-in phone call? Is it encouragement or praise, or perhaps a walking buddy or someone to listen without judgment? Be clear, and think of what support you may need and tell them.

For the support person, you cannot force or beg anyone to quit. It is not your decision to make. Avoid preaching or nagging. Don’t tell them what to do or use put downs or guilt trips. Please do not enable their behavior, either, by going and buying them cigarettes if they become moody. During the first few days of a quit, try to be accessible. Load up on sugar-free candy or gum, and help create a smoke-free environment.

Not everyone has a support system around them. In-person tobacco cessation groups provide support while focusing on the skills for a long-term quit. Rutland Regional offers multiple weekly groups and can provide free nicotine replacement therapy such as patches, gum or lozenges, which can make a successful quit much easier. For more information about help quitting smoking or vaping, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or local tobacco cessation services at Rutland Regional Medical Center at 747-3768.

This week’s Health Talk was written by Sarah Cosgrove, respiratory therapist and master-level tobacco treatment specialist for the Community Health Team at Rutland Regional Medical Center.

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