An American Addiction Centers Resource

New to the Forums?Join or

Helping my stubborn mother quit smoking

Discussion in 'Tobacco / Nicotine' started by Moll, Mar 23, 2016.

  1. Moll

    Moll Member

    So my mother has enlisted me to help her think of ways to quit her smoking habit. She started smoking after my father left her (about 10ish years ago) and has never been a heavy smoker, per se. She thinks smoking is terribly unladylike and tries to limit her consumption (and refuses to light up in public), so I'm guessing that she smokes maybe half a pack a day or a little more.

    Despite her vanity and willpower to limit herself, she doesn't want to quit cold turkey. Fine, I get it. I suggested nicotine patches or gum. Nope, she doesn't trust those. Vaping? Nope, "too many chemicals." This is the same woman that denied me therapy sessions when I was suicidal as a teen in favor of some soup that was supposed to balance my emotions. I still love her though, and I want to help her. I'm not too versed in the tools available to help her, so I'd really appreciate some advice from here.
  2. darkrebelchild

    darkrebelchild Community Champion

  3. I feel you Moll, as this is exactly alike to my case. My mother is in pretty much the same situation, and what's most worrying is that she's started smoking again after having a cancerous mass removed from her uterus. I have confronted her about it in the past, seemingly to no avail, but she is very ashamed about it. She hides her packs, only lights up on our balcony, where supposedly nobody is looking. Nicotine addiction is hard to beat, and since your mother is very skeptic about what goes into her body, out of that link the most likely thing to work is physical activity: why don't you try to ask her to go for a jog when she's about to light up?
  4. morgoodie

    morgoodie Senior Contributor

    It sounds like your mother is not sure if she wants to quit or not. It is very difficult to find ways in which a person can quit smoking if they are going to turn away all your ideas. I think that maybe trying to figure out an alternative activity for your mother will be the best option. She could do some sort of physical activity like going for a walk or other exercise. Maybe taking up a hobby such as painting or other creative release would help to keep smoking out of her mind. I wish you luck with this endeavor. She is lucky to have you as a daughter.
  5. Moll

    Moll Member

    Thanks for all the advice and well wishes everyone.

    I think you guys are right—she's not fully committed to quitting. A lot of her friends have moved away in the past few years and I think she's gotten lonely with me out of the house. I drove over for a visit today and we took a nice walk to the duck pond together. I haven't show her the Mayoclinic link yet, but I noticed that she didn't light up while we were out (even though nobody was around and she has in the past). Hopefully things are looking up!
  6. Rainman

    Rainman Community Champion

    The fact that your mother told she wants to stop smoking is a good indication that she at least is willing to battle the addiction. It doesn't matter if she is willing to quit cold turkey or not. Most smokers do find it hard to quit cold turkey. I think she should try the tapering off strategy. It will take longer for her to stop smoking but as long as she overcomes her addiction in the end it doesn't matter how long it takes.
    MrsJones likes this.
  7. SashaS

    SashaS Community Champion

    My parents are two of the most stubborn human beings I have ever known, so I know how you feel. I think its great that your mother can at least limit her consumption and a good way to improve that mindset is perhaps have her be in public more and have more parties/get-togethers. It seems that she is not invested in quitting completely and hence her actions. Perhaps get more serious about it if that's possible. I like what @Rainman said about slowly coming off the addiction. Especially with her not smoking in public, which is already as sign of quitting.

    If you could somehow implement more instances where she cannot smoke, e.g in certain places at the house or something, then there are less opportunities for her to smoke and therefore she can eventually taper off. Good luck and regards.
    Rainman likes this.
  8. Joethefirst

    Joethefirst Community Champion

    I think she should read Allen Carrs "Easy way to stop smoking", if you look on YouTube you can find the audio book and the DVD. The book is better, that will put things into perspective.
  9. remnant

    remnant Community Champion

    I think your mom should start the battle in the mind. Expose her to literature on the deleterious effects of smoking. She can also be weaned off tobacco by getting at the root cause of her addiction. Is it boredom? What precipitated it in the first place? Embarking on a new activity like learning a new craft blows the wind off the sails of nicotine addiction. A word of caution though, to forestall the possibility of a relapse, it is advisable to progressively cut back on the number of sticks and finally make a brave decision never to look back.
  10. kgord

    kgord Community Champion

    If she does not want to listen to your advice about stopping smoking, how does she think she wants to quit? Does she have a plan? I mean tell her if she wants to stop smoking and doesn't like your ideas, she has to come up with some way to do it. Maybe hypnosis would work for her...She has to come up with a strategy since she doesn;t like your ideas.
    MrsJones likes this.
  11. MrsJones

    MrsJones Community Listener Community Listener

    I agree with @kgord. Ask your mother what ways does she want to try and quit smoking. Often times parents don't like to be told by the children what to do even when they know children have their best interests at heart.

    Even though she may not be ready to quit smoking her thoughts on ways to quit may help to get her in the right direction.

    Has she thought about having a pet to keep her company?
  12. xTinx

    xTinx Community Champion

    If your mom makes a lot of excuses rather than find ways to make quitting cigarettes easier for her, then it seems that she really isn't ready for change even though a part of her does want to. Since she's not a hard smoker then it's not that bad. However, you can motivate her every now and then until she sees enough reason to quit. An occasional cigarette doesn't hurt, though, as long as for the most part she avoids chainsmoking.
  13. Theboysmom04

    Theboysmom04 Member

    My mother smoked for years. Finally after being told she had the starts of copd she decided she was too pretty to walk around toting an oxygen tank. She took chantix. She still 5 years later carries an emergency cigarette in her purse just in case. She was able to quit within 2 weeks.
  14. Tremmie

    Tremmie Community Champion

    Honestly? She is asking for the impossible. It sounds like she is not willing to quit, she has already said no to all the methods available... so what is left? Nothing much. Some people are just not ready to quit, some might never do it. That is something we have to accept, we can't force them to want to quit. My fiance is on the same boat.
  15. Tsky45

    Tsky45 Community Champion

    Just keep showing your support. Remind your mother every chance you get how bad smoking is for her. This is the best way to help her stop smoking. If she ask you to buy cigarettes for her don't do it. Even bringing her literature about the dangers of smoking could help.
  16. henry

    henry Community Champion

    If someone really wants to quit smoking, cold turkey is the only way to go. Let's not kid ourselves, as long as we keep lighting them up, no matter the number, 1 or 20, we will keep smoking.