Support Without Criticism

By Guest Writer, Tammie Fournier, RRT

I was so excited when I learned I could write this article, until I sat down to write it. I can’t believe how nervous I became. Not nervous because of the fear of messing up; no, I embarrass myself often enough that I’m way past the fear of typos. I was actually afraid to disappoint the person who smokes who decides to read this tiny article on their break at work or during their Saturday morning coffee. You see, I needed to make this worth their time, making it meaningful and motivating, cutting the crap (yikes!).

People who smoke are not just “smokers”. Most people who smoke do not wish to be defined by that action. People who smoke are people with family, friends, jobs, educational pursuits, hopes and dreams. They are not “smokers”, they are people who smoke and research says most of them wish they could just stop.

While most people who smoke don’t really want to do so forever, they don’t need to be told by their loved ones that smoking is bad for them. They already know. Did you need to be told by your loved ones that you needed to lose 25 pounds? Chances are, you already knew (chances are you would imagine throat punching subsequent friends and family who felt compelled to tell you that again). In Canada, there are somewhere between 5 and 6 million people who smoke and just over half of them attempt to stop smoking every year. Most know it is bad and many crave support to stop without any added criticism. What scares me, what made me so nervous to write the article today, is that without additional help, only 5 out of every 100 people who smoke will be able to stop. The good news in this? With help, in the form of counselling and/or medications, the chance of successfully stopping smoking is much higher.

If I told you that iceberg lettuce was the leading cause of preventable death and disease in those from Hampton, Saint John, and the rest of the world, would you stop eating iceberg lettuce? It is very likely that you would. Iceberg lettuce would likely be relatively easy to stop as it does not have addictive properties (there’s no sugar and no nicotine). Of course, iceberg lettuce is not the world’s leading cause of preventable death and disease (thank goodness); unfortunately, smoking is. Smoking is also difficult to stop because it leads to addiction which is a true disorder that can be uncomfortable to cure without assistance.

Do you smoke? When you’re ready to talk, there are people that can really support you to develop an individual plan to help you stop. Your family doctor, pharmacist and respiratory therapist are examples of people who can help. Truth is, it is so important to your health that we hope you never hesitate to ask for assistance you need to stop smoking. You have the capability to stop and your health is worth our time.

About the Author: Tammie is a Respiratory Therapist and Respiratory Therapy Program Instructor at the New Brunswick Community College. She is also a certified Fitness Instructor Specialist at Lifestyles Fitness. Tammie will be offering a 4-week workshop beginning in July designed to provide tools for those consider a tobacco-free life. For more information contact Lifestyles at

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