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Smoking Addiction: Choosing Cigarettes Over Breathing

answered 12:39 PM EST, Wed April 25, 2012
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anonymous anonymous
My dad needs to go on oxygen after smoking for 40 years. He says that he can’t stop and since you can’t obviously smoke while on oxygen he has more or less decided he’s not going to comply with his doctor’s recommendations.

This is insane, that he is choosing cigarettes over breathing. I am not ready to see him die. He is only 64. He says he’s tried everything and he just can’t quit. What’s the best thing for a person who has been smoking for so long to try, when he really needs to quit. He needs to quit right now so it’s got to work fast.

Lita Perna Says...

Lita Perna L. Perna
MA, Family and Community Counseling

You say that your dad has, more or less decided he’s not going to comply with his doctor’s recommendations and he is choosing cigarettes over breathing.

As much as you want him to quit, it is his choice. But it is the choice made by someone who is addicted. He says he's tried everything. What does he say he has tried? Has he had even a little bit of success with any of his attempts? Even a little success is still success. If he has, focus on that.

Support him and gently urge him to at least consider trying again. Criticising, nagging and using scare tatics doesn't usually work.

Needing oxygen and being hospitalized for shortness of breath is what got my 86 year old mother to finally quit after 60 years.

Gasping for breath and having no choice about using oxygen to simply breathe may be the turning point for your dad.

I know you love him. It's isn't easy to be so powerless, but It is up to him.

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Page last updated Apr 30, 2012

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