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Alison Beaver: Are You Or a Loved One in a Committed Relationship... With Nicotine?

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The power of a cigarette. I've heard cigarettes referred to as one of the greatest drug-delivery devices ever invented. Think about it: they're relatively cheap, legal, accessible, the drug (nicotine) provides the user with either a quick pick-me-up or a nice stress-reducer, which ever is needed. And, it is always there for them. Smokers can (usually) take more breaks, have some more social time outside; some even have their own special designated place! (haven't you ever wondered what goes on in the smoking lounge, just like the teacher's lounge in high school?!) And, let's face it: smokers (typically) are fun, social, slightly rebellious, gregarious people---they're fun to be around, and they are our friends and family (and ourselves)!

Surprised that I am writing about the BENEFITS OF SMOKING?! Don't worry, it's not an endorsement for smoking, but it IS important to look at the reasons people smoke. We have all heard the dangers of smoking; we've even shared these morbidity and mortality rates with our loved ones who smoke, which just pushed them further away (into their designated lounges!).

I believe that learning about the benefits of smoking, helps in understanding the broad concept of "smoking" for the non-smokers among us. If you are a smoker (or an occasional tobacco user, if you don't identify as a "smoker"), then acknowledging the *benefits of smoking* can actually be your first clue to help you quit when you're ready.

If you are struggling to help someone quit smoking, ask them about their love/hate relationship with nicotine. And really listen without judging or criticizing. They may not have put this relationship into words (and it is a relationship!); verbalizing it could be a first step in their potential future quitting process. Most smokers and tobacco users want to quit. Someday. And, you can be "there for them" when they're ready.

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