We frequently hear people say that they donâ€™t see how counseling helps a smoker to stop smoking. It can. Counseling increases the success in quitting smoking, like good coaching can improve a teamâ€™s chances of winning. In fact, the more time or sessions a person spends in counseling for stopping smoking (up to 300 minutes or 8 sessions) the more likely a smoker will become and stay smoke free.
Counseling can help in many ways. A counselor can review a personâ€™s tobacco use history and highlight past successes that might not be apparent. A counselor can encourage a person to elaborate on their reasons for stopping which can help strengthen a smokerâ€™s resolve. Counselors can help develop a plan to manage danger situations and recognize â€˜red flagsâ€™ that could lead to relapse to smoking. Counseling can help a smoker understand why it is so hard to stop, can help with the proper use of medications, and can refer a smoker to a healthcare provider to prescribe medication.
Counseling with a tobacco treatment specialist may be available in your area through your State Quit-line or through one of the local hospitals or clinics â€“ for more information go to Resources at the bottom of the home page of www.BecomeAnEX.org.
When you decide to quit, use all the tools at your disposal, and donâ€™t forget that counseling could be the key to relearning your life without cigarettes.
Dr. Richard D. Hurt is an internationally recognized expert on tobacco dependence. A native of Murray, Kentucky, he joined Mayo Clinic in 1976 and is now a Professor of Medicine at its College of Medicine. In 1988, he founded the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center and since then its staff has treated over 33,000 patients for tobacco dependence. Send your questions directly to Dr. Hurt at AskTheExpert@becomeanex.org