Friday, January 27, 2012

How to Help a Teen Stop Smoking?

You may not remember, but a few months ago I posted about my oldest son playing with fire.  Well, sorta, he was smoking.  Literally and figuratively playing with fire.  At the time, I called him on it and he swore up and down he wasn't a smoker.  Eventually, when caught red-handed he said, "Mom, I smoke, but I'm not a smoker."

All that has changed.  He's now an official smoker and he hates it.  Yes, we warned him of the dangers of addiction, but as many of you know, older teens don't always want to listen.

Now, he's realized it's a very expensive, very unappealing habit.  The problem is it's very hard to quit.  I sympathize with him as much as I can - short of caffeine, I can't speak to addiction.  I don't know what it's like to have a substance have control over my life.

I do, very much, want to help him quit!  I'm very worried about his longterm health.

We had a deal - he said he was going cold turkey and didn't need help.  He agreed that if he smoked another cigarette, he'd let me make a doctor's appointment and we'd try to get him some help quitting.  We did try the nicorette gum, but he says it makes him feel funny so he won't chew it.

True to his word, he texted me to make an appointment, and he's going Monday.  I wish I knew the right thing to do to remove this issue from his life.  I'm a mom - I want to fix it.  I'm the daughter of a Marine - Just Do It!  But, it's not that simple.

Have you ever had to deal with stopping smoking?  What worked for you?  What didn't?  What advice can you offer a mom who truly wants to see her son shake this habit before it becomes a lifelong burden he can't escape?


  1. I'm very sorry to hear about your son picking up this habit. That is what you have to call it because he is young enough to say that. It has not become a "chronic" habit yet, and hopefully he'll have an easier time quitting.

    1. He has to want to quit for himself. He can't do it for anyone else.

    2. He has to face up to WHY he started and is continuing the habit.

    3. He has to stop hanging around friends or those who don't support his choice to quit.

    4. He needs to find something that will take his mind off of wanting to smoke. Some use a wrist band to snap, and/or anything to keep their hands busy. Lollipops or gum (not Nicorette, that stuff is nasty) may help.

    My mother quit cold turkey, I used the patch, but it all comes down to a personal commitment to yourself to want something better out of life. Beyond the health risks there are so many other restrictions that smoking causes. Nipping it now why he's young will be a lot easier for him.

    Good luck!

  2. Lynda,

    Thank you so much for your wonderful comments/advice. I'm going to share this with him.


  3. I started smoking at 14. When I quit, it was cold turkey, no patch, no nicotine gum, I just quit. The desire to quit has to beat the desire to smoke. One of the biggest things that helped me to be successful (besides prayer) was staying out of the situations that I was most likely to smoke in. It is not an easy thing, but like anything else, if you want to do it badly enough, you can.

  4. Thank you, Lisa. I will have him read your comments as well. I do agree that who he hangs around makes a difference.



  5. I can't imagine how difficult it is to quit smoking. Fasting from sugar about did me in. I'm trying to encourage my niece and nephew to stop so let me know what works.

  6. April, I started as a kid, sharing a half a cig when around friends. Then, I had a pack in my car, in the glove box, and it might take a week or two or more to go through the pack. Again, when driving, sitting at the beach, with a friend. I understand when he says he's not a "smoker" but he smokes. Men are doing this now with Cigars. They don't smoke, but they share cigars. I joined the Coast Guard, and breaks were centered around Smoke Breaks. This is when it intensified. When I hung around people who thought it was normal, I'd find myself having 2-3 in a row in a couple of hours. I started playing with fire when I was really young, 12?13? and added them up til I was buying a pack quite often in my 20's. 15 years ago, on April 5th, I begged the Lord to just take the addiction away. I couldn't give it up, and the more I tried, the more I'd smoke. I had given him every promise I could think of - You do this/I'll do that. But it wasn't until I quit promising - and just begged and knew He wanted to heal those receptors, that he took it away. I went a day without, and lit up in the evening, when I heard Him say - Hey - you've gone all day - want to try tomorrow? and that was the end - or a new beginning. My advice would be to relax. Take the pressure off to quit. Pray earnestly. Try to not make it a sin issue as much, even though I didn't read that from your post. Even his health will heal quickly when he quits smoking. Trust that he is working on stopping, and urge him to spend a set time in prayer each day - on smoking alone. 2 minutes? 15 minutes? When he gives it to the Lord, it will be easier. And only your son will know when he is really ready to stop, as you've read above - it will most likely mean a change of friends, habits and activities all the way around. I will be praying for him - I KNOW He can heal your son!

  7. There was an article that I'd read at the dr. office, posted on the exam room cabinet, while waiting for the dr. to come in. It cited studies which found how quickly certain body functions recoup, reform, renew, etc. after quitting smoking. For example, your taste buds immediately begin to regrow and recover, within the first 24 hours. After 5 years, lungs have recovered a certain percentage of their capacity. And on and on. It made me realize that everytime I lit up, I was stopping the healing process, only to start over again. I bought a last pack, and made it stretch over a week's time, and threw out what was left. Good luck to you, praying earnestly for you.

  8. i started smoking at 13. quit for the last time just before I was 36. I quit cold turkey each time I got pregnant, but would start again after each child was born. My fourth child was the one I stopped forever with.

    I was sick of the "need to". I was tired of the time it took away from family....

    Smoking started as a social gig. I would go to the smoking section at my high school, and hang out with "friends". Then i would "bond" with other smokers at jobs, bars, or other places.... I would smoke while i talked on the phone....It was my social thing.

    He needs to learn how to do things without smoking.... even simple conversations... expecially with pals that are smoking.... will be triggers.

    I told God I was done with it. I asked Him to remove any and all desire to ever smoke again. and he did. There were days I would be doing something, and Think "oh it would be nice to have a smoke right now..." but I would just say NO... and busy my hands with other tasks.

    I will be praying for your son that he will have the strength to quit sooner rather than later.

  9. Julie, Thank you so much for the wonderful post. I'll make sure he sees it!


  10. I was a smoker for 7 years, at a pack a day. I never tried to quit but I did pray to God for about 2 years on and off to take away my desire for cigarettes. One day out of the blue I woke up and never touched them again. This is one of my answered prayers that stands out to me. So my advice is the same as others on here like mine, PRAY!


Thank you for commenting - I love to hear your thoughts!