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Smoking and Tobacco

Helping Dad to Quit

01/26/2000

Question:

My father has been smoking for years. This year he has watched a friend die of lung cancer and emph. Now, his brother (my Uncle) is very ill, suffering from lung cancer and emph---having smoked for years. What can be done to convince my father that he has to quit smoking? He`s an intelligent but stubborn man. Maybe he thinks that it`s too late---that the damage to his body is already done. Is it too late? He`s 67 years old. If it`s not too late, and assuming that my father is rational, what are the steps to take in order to convince him that he needs to quit, and to persuade him to take the steps to do so?

Answer:

It`s fortunate for your father that he has such a caring daughter! One good resource for you and your father is a book "Changing for Good" by a psychologist named James O. Prochaska that you could get at the library or bookstore. It reviews the common stages of change for behaviors such as smoking; as well as helpful suggestions for each stage. Other resources are available from local health agencies. If you remain supportive and encouraging, and try not to come across as "policing" or "nagging", you`ll probably have more success as well. Good luck!

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Response by:

Jerry   Friemoth, MD Jerry Friemoth, MD
Associate Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati