Without adequate support and resources, tobacco cessation can be a challenging process. A WPO coach met with a participant to discuss his desire to quit smoking. The participant’s focus was to evaluate the possibility of quitting smoking by tapering which he thought would minimize the discomfort of a sudden lifestyle change.
Once the participant explained his situation and goals, the coach scheduled a total of five sessions with the participant. The coach established a Wellness Vision during the initial session with the participant to further help define his goals and envision where he wanted to be: ‘I can see myself tapering from smoking 30 to 40 cigarettes a day to a quit at some point in the future. When I do quit, I will feel better, have more energy, and will not be spending as much money.
The participant moved from zero awareness of his smoking habits to having the ability to prolong the time between cigarettes. He also started really thinking about smoking as he takes the cigarette out of the pack by questioning himself if he wants it or if he is smoking out of sheer habit. He became much more aware of his behavior and started dissecting the idea of what taper-to-quit involves.
The participant approached the coaching program by matching his taper goals with his natural planning skills. Throughout the participant’s time with the coach, he consistently set goals, compared his actual behavior to the planned goals, and made adjustments accordingly.
Sometimes the adjustments were soul searching about what the smoking process meant to him and how it affected his life and health. Other times the adjustments were on the surface-level, such as noticing patterns and triggers to his smoking and knowing how much he smoked in total, day-to-day.
The participant discovered the mindset of changing an addictive habit. He identified each cigarette he smoked as ‘his choice’. He spoke about being busy at work and home as a deterrent to smoking. He held himself to no-smoking zones, like his home, car, and around non-smokers. This process also introduced him to the idea of relaxation by smoking versus relaxation by other activities he enjoyed.
At the conclusion of the sessions, the participant did taper down from smoking 40 cigarettes per day. He was able to identify cues that increased or decreased his smoking habit, thereby identifying what was in his control to influence. Throughout the five-week time period, the participant moved from low importance to quit to moderate importance, and from low self-confidence to moderate self-confidence. By the last session, he felt good about his progress and expressed gratitude for the coaching conversations. He identified himself as a ‘taperer’ – gradually cutting down the amount of tobacco he consumed.