Let’s face it- non-smokers are often not very nice to those who do. Smokers get judged, ignored, and even called names. People who smoke are often the target of stigma and stereotypes. This stigma can have devastating consequences. Stigma is associated with reduced treatment adherence, potential delays in asking for help, getting treatment, and can increase the risk for depression. Stigma can cause one to feel guilty and shameful. What can you do to prevent this stigma from getting the best of you?
- Understand that most people do not have any understanding of the addictive properties of tobacco and the difficulty involved in quitting.
- Stigma and stereotypes have been around for a long time and most likely will not go away – do not let them get in your way!
- Focus on YOU – what is in it for you? How will you benefit if you were able to quit?
- Give yourself credit for what you are doing.
- Quitting smoking is hard work, it can take a few times before one is able to quit for good.
Think about how stigma may be playing a role in your efforts to quit. Having the awareness of it may impact how you react to it next time that you are faced with the stereotypes or stigma associated with quitting.
Therese Shumaker, MA