In honor of American Heart Month, we caught up with Tobacco Cessation Specialist and leader of the 30 Days to Becoming Nicotine-free Challenge, Marian Paller. Marian discusses the ins and outs of being a Tobacco Cessation Specialist and what she wishes people knew about quitting.
What does a Tobacco Cessation specialist do?
A Tobacco Cessation Specialist guides an individual towards the changes they want to make. All too often, people would like to quit but struggle to actually quit. A Tobacco Cessation Specialist or coach collaborates with the individual to reach their goals, whether it be cutting back on how much nicotine they are using or quitting altogether. Quitting is never easy, but having a coach increases the chances of successfully quitting and staying quit.
What inspired you to become a Tobacco Cessation Specialist?
My mom and other family members inspired me to become a Tobacco Cessation Specialist. They all quit smoking, but it was not easy. I become a Tobacco Cessation Specialist to help, support, and make it easier for others on their own journey to quit.
What is your favorite part about helping people quit nicotine?
My favorite part about helping people is just that – helping people! Each person has their own journey to become a non-tobacco user and it's great to be able to support for them along the way.
What’s the most challenging?
Quitting tobacco in itself is a challenge. I have coached hundreds of people over the years. Not all of them quit tobacco. A lot of them were on the fence about quitting. Being on the fence is probably one of the biggest challenges. Going back and forth about quitting and not quitting is something I saw all too often. Those individuals usually did not quit. Those who were successful in quitting made up their minds, walked away, and never looked back. Those who are on the fence may cut back on how much they use but are not fully invested in quitting.
What do you wish people knew about quitting nicotine?
It is challenging to quit, but with the help and support of a coach, chances of quitting increase. The average number of times a person tries to quit before actually being successful is roughly 11 times. Which means there are people that can quit in fewer than 11 attempts and those who take more than 11 attempts. Many people feel as though they can’t do it, don’t have the support to quit, or they have tried multiple times and were not successful. They feel as though they are a failure, but when they learn the average number of attempts people take before actually being able to quit, their confidence goes up. They realize they are not the only one who took multiple attempts to quit before they actually quit for good. I have seen this scenario many times and with each person, they had their own story and reasons for quitting.
I also wish people knew their “why” or intrinsic motivation to quit. Quitting is not easy by any means but, when people know their “why,” their ability to quit and stay quit goes up. With their “why,” they made up their mind to quit no matter what and did just that. They quit, walked away, and never went back.