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Leaders Give Support

China has the world’s most serious smoking problem. Your beautiful country represents 20% of the world's population yet Chinese smoke 33% of the world’s cigarettes. Many Chinese smokers do not understand the deadly health danger of tobacco. They need education and support from doctors, health care workers and family.

Important Leadership Concept

Giving support to the people around you is an important leadership concept. It includes being friendly, caring and willing to help when someone needs your assistance. Giving support builds relationships and gains trust.

Doctors and health care workers who support fellow workers and patients are usually more effective, more successful and happier than those who only look out for themselves.

Gain Loyalty

Supportive leaders work hard to build relationships. They know that being caring and friendly wins people’s loyalty. Good managers understand that it is easier to gain cooperation from workers who like and respect them. And we all know from experience that it is more satisfying to work with someone who is pleasant, cooperative, and supportive than with someone who is cold, difficult and impersonal.

Help Smokers Quit

If you have never smoked, it may be hard to understand just how tough it is to quit. When one husband helped his wife during her struggle to quit smoking, he learned how challenging it is to recover from nicotine addiction. After the experience, he wrote a sample letter for smokers to share with family and friends. The letter explains how non-smokers can help and support them when they decide to quit.

Sample Letter

Dear______. I am getting ready to try to change my life for the better. I am going to quit smoking and I need your support. I am writing this letter so you know what to expect for the next few weeks. The process of nicotine withdrawal will be very difficult for me and the people who love me.

Please understand that nicotine addiction is one of the most difficult drugs to kick. Experts say that quitting smoking can be more difficult than quitting heroin.

Everyone who quits smoking reacts differently to the withdrawal symptoms, but for the first two weeks, do not expect much from me. I will not be my normal self. Most of my attention and energy will be used up fighting the physical and mental urges to smoke.

I may cry, I may yell, I may ignore you. Worst of all, I may say mean and nasty things to you. But I want you to know that this is the nicotine talking and not my heart. I will apologize when the poison has left my body and my mind has cleared. But for the moment, please, please know that I love you and let my unkind words roll off your back.

It is important to understand that when a smoker quits, the body and mind try everything they can to trick them into taking another puff.

  • I may try to convince you that now is not a good time to quit.
  • I may question the worth of my life.
  • I may talk about feeling empty and lost.
  • My body may hurt with aches and pains.
  • I may not be able to sleep.
  • I may act like the pain I am feeling is your fault.

Please understand that I am quitting smoking for me and not for you. I must be selfish about this so I cannot give nicotine a reason to put the blame on anyone else. You must not feel responsible for my pain, discomfort or depression.

Even if you feel you cannot stand to see me this way, whatever you do, never tell me it is OK to smoke to stop the pain. You have to be strong when I am weak. Do not agree with any of my excuses or begging.

Here are 10 things you can do to help me:

  1. Be there when I need a hug, but do not be sad or upset when I push you away.
  2. If I tell you to leave me alone, give me space, but do not go too far. I need to know you are near no matter what the nicotine says.
  3. Do not try to argue with me when I start to make excuses for giving up. Your silence is a more powerful message.
  4. Avoid talking about cigarettes unless I discuss them first. I am trying to get them off my mind.
  5. Do the best you can to act as if everything is normal. The more normal you act, the faster I will get there.
  6. Be careful to avoid putting me in situations where I will be near smokers. This might require staying away from my favorite places or certain friends for a while.
  7. Help me avoid stressful situations. If something stressful can be put off for several weeks, please do so.
  8. Help me avoid places and activities where I usually smoke.
  9. Keep telling me it will get better and that the emptiness and pain will fade. Tell me that you love me and that my fight is worth it.
  10. Tell me I am strong. Tell me you are proud of me. But also tell me you will be there no matter what I say or do.
  11. I want to prepare you because the first two weeks are usually the worst. Please be aware that my life will not suddenly get better. It will be a gradual process. Also, please know that although I am quitting for me, you and those around me will benefit as well.

    I will be free from the chains of needing to know where the closest cigarette store is. I will be free of the smell and stains. I will be free of an early death. And I will be free to spend more quality time with those I love.

    Thank you in advance for being strong enough to love me and help me through this. Love, _______.

    Be a Good Influence

    As you become a more effective leader, use your influence to show people how to live healthier, happier lives. Gently show your friends, family and patients that cigarette smoke is full of deadly poison. Show them that there is a better way to live and offer your support. Please invite your friends and colleagues to join our Leadership Club. By working together, we can make a big difference in the fight against smoking.

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    Click here to see Leadership Club banner ads available for use on your web site. We especially invite universities and medical organizations to place these ads on their websites.

    By Marlin Gimbel
    Leadership Club Program Director

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