Communicating Without Smoking

Blog Post created by dr_hurt on Apr 17, 2009

Tobacco dependence can worm its way into many aspects of a person's life. When a person is working toward becoming tobacco free, one may need to relearn how to do things without smoking. For example, smoking can serve as a form of interpersonal communication in both casual and close relationships with others.

Smoking can serve to bring people close together, provide an opportunity to communicate, or help one distance from others. It can be a way to express things such as "let's talk", "time for a break", "I want to be alone", "I'm upset",  "I'm with you", "we're friends". Once a person stops smoking he or she still needs to talk with others, take breaks, be alone, express emotions, and be connected with others. Without smoking the manner of communicating and the people with whom you communicate may well change. Putting some thought and planning into how smoking fits into your life with others and what you communicate with smoking can help negotiate these changes successfully.

Make an inventory of the part tobacco plays in relation to others is a good start. Plan ways in which you can communicate without smoking. Review the "re-learn habits section of the becomeanex.org website to help. Tell others in your life that you are not smoking and let them know how they can help. Be thorough and enjoy your success.

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