You hang out with people you have stuff in common with, right? Well, teens who smoke or dip usually hang out with people who use tobacco too. So what do you do when you want to quit and your friends don't? Will your relationships change while you're trying to stop using tobacco? You should know that being tobacco free could cause changes (good and bad) in some of your relationships. To protect yourself from the dangers of tobacco, it’s important to be ready for relationship changes so you can deal with them constructively.
Here are some things to think about:
- You have plenty in common: You won't lose your friends just because you stop smoking or dipping. You and your friends have plenty of other things in common besides tobacco. Remind yourself of what they are.
- Agree to disagree: You have your reasons for quitting. You need to do what's right for you to avoid the dangers of tobacco. But don't judge your friends who aren't ready to quit. They need to do it on their own time.
- Who's pressuring you to smoke or dip? You or your friends? Most teens pressure themselves into tobacco use as a way to be accepted by friends. Most of your friends don't care if you say no.
- NOT everyone is doing it: Most people seriously overestimate the number of people who are current tobacco users. About 80 percent of teens do NOT smoke! Tobacco companies spend tons of money to make teens think smoking or dipping is popular – all while downplaying the health problems caused by tobacco.
Here are some things to do:
- Change up your routines and patterns: You have routines and patterns for interacting with other people, and you probably have patterns for smoking or dipping. Think about it. You smoke or dip with the same people, at the same time, in the same place and while you're doing the same thing (like sharing cigarettes or dip after school or smoking in the car with friends). You may not realize these patterns at first, but you'll need to identify them so you can begin to make changes. Mix up your routine by suggesting tobacco-free activities or seeking out the company of friends who don't use tobacco.
- Avoid certain social situations: At first, it may be best to avoid social situations that trigger you to smoke or dip. If your plan to quit involves some major changes, try explaining to your friends (and family) that you're not avoiding them, but you are avoiding situations that might make you want to use tobacco.
- Ask for help. It doesn't have to be hard. It's important to tell close friends and relatives about your plan to quit. Let them know how they can help you! It can strengthen your relationships.
The Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline offers quit coaching for youth 13 years and older. Nicotine replacement products are only available to those 18 years and older. Information is also available for parents seeking support with helping a youth tobacco user quit. When you’re ready, call 1-800-QUIT NOW to talk to a Quit Coach™, or register online and choose the services that work best for you.