Nicotine addiction is one of the most common addictions in the world, with over 50 million Americans experiencing it. So, it’s no surprise that many people also struggle to quit nicotine, whether it’s in the form of cigarettes, snuff, or chewing tobacco.
If you’re the loved one of someone who has an addiction to nicotine in any form, you may find yourself feeling stressed, out of control, confused, and lost. These are normal reactions. Even when the person with the addiction seems to be okay, addiction has many psychological and physical side effects that can show up over time.
Nicotine addiction alone can amount to gum disease, lung cancer, and more. If you want to learn how to persuade someone you love to quit nicotine for good, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some tips on helping them get off the dip and back into life.
Understand That Addiction Is a Psychological Problem
To help your loved one come clean of nicotine, you first need to understand addiction and how it works. Many people become frustrated with those who are using an addictive substance because it seems like they’re choosing to hurt themselves and the people around them.
However, addiction is actually a chemical or psychological dependency on something. Withdrawal from nicotine does happen, and it can be distressing and painful. It’s also important to note that even when someone wants to stop, they may feel physically drawn back to the product, and their mind might tell them, “Just one more time.”
The shame that comes with addiction is also quite strong. Shame makes people feel like they are bad for what they do, that they don’t deserve help, and that they’re incapable of change. Continuing to tell a person going through addiction that they’re just hurting themselves will cause them to feel more shame, which will, in turn, cause them not to stop using.
The first few weeks of withdrawing from nicotine are the hardest. That’s why it’s essential that you propose a plan to help the person wean off of the product. Many nicotine replacement products exist and there are also tons of alternatives for chewing tobacco, such as:
- Sunflower seeds
- Chewing gum (without nicotine)
- Rubber chew items
- Non-nicotine “chew” (herbs) – check out our Smokeless Alternatives page
If the person in your life is addicted to the act of chewing, having something in their mouth that they can chew on and spit out may assist in the first few weeks.
Convince Them to See a Therapist
If the person you love has a severe addiction or struggles with getting clean, it might be time for them to see someone. You can tell them that you understand they are struggling and aren’t able to quit right now, but just to humor you, they could try to see a therapist.
A therapist or addiction counselor can help the person see the roots of their addiction and come up with methods to heal it. Many addictions form as a result of trauma or to try to avoid things in the person’s life and can often be compulsive. Therapy is the best for breaking compulsions because it can be done in a safe environment with a trained professional.
In addition to therapy, a community of like minded folks, with a common goal of defeating addiction to smokeless tobacco may be the best tool available. Luckily, KTC has built such a community right here!
Be a Rock in Their Life
The most important part of someone’s addiction journey is having people in their life who stick around and help them through. You don’t need to support someone’s habit to feel empathetic and show them that you love them. In fact, deciding to cut someone out due to their addiction may make them feel more alone and more likely to continue.
Of course, you don’t need to stay in anyone’s life if they’re abusive, ignoring your personal boundaries, or posing a danger to you or your family in any way. However, if you love the person and just want what’s best for them, and you have a desire to continue the relationship, express this to them. Tell them you’re not going anywhere.
Don’t Partake in the Addiction (or Any) Around Them
If you also smoke or chew tobacco, it’s important that you don’t do so around them if you’re both trying to quit. Be a good example to the person. If they ask you why they should quit, show them how you’ve worked on your own addiction and what worked for you. If the person has quit already, don’t smoke or chew around them. Being around their addiction again can cause relapses.
Express Your Concerns for Their Health Kindly
When trying to convince them to stop smoking, be kind in your approach. If you’re concerned about their lungs, be gentle about it. Remind them that people do die from their nicotine addictions, even if it’s just chewing, and it’s not safe.
Prepare for the First 72 Hours
Remember to prepare for the first 72 hours after the person quits. If they agree to quit and work on their addiction, the first 72 hours will be the hardest. They may have physical withdrawal. Set up some water, snacks, and a calming/quiet area for them to relax in on those days. Have your nicotine replacement items at the ready.
Don’t Put It On Yourself
Finally, know when to stop.
You can’t control someone else’s behavior and addiction, no matter how much you want to. If someone continues to tell you no, even after everything you’ve done to help, that’s their choice. It is driven by a psychological addiction, and you continue to repeat yourself, but you can’t hold yourself accountable if they mess up or don’t listen. All you can do is be a good friend to them.
Persuading someone else to quit is not an easy thing to do. If you want to learn more about persuasion and how to use it, check out BetterHelp today.
NOTE: This post was developed via a partnership with BetterHelp.