Did you know that 3 million people (many of whom yearned to quit smoking) every year die of coronary disease related to smoking tobacco? This World Tobacco Day, May 31, 2020, re-affirm your resolve to quit smoking and lead a healthier life. Do you fall in any of the categories ranging from a casual or social smoker to a chain-smoking steam engine? Then you must do everything in your power to help yourself or the one you care about quit smoking for good. Here's an idea that's worth a try. No guarantees, of course, but if it can help you get one step closer to being tobacco-free, that's all that matters.
How Does This Method Aid in Smoking Cessation?
In the realm of addiction, there's something known as a sponsor. A sponsor is simply someone who can guide an individual on the path to sobriety. Using a similar concept, you can try to quit smoking with the help of a sponsor or buddy. The idea is really simple but can be very powerful. So, in the context of quitting tobacco use, how can a sponsor help you give up the nasty habit?
The basic assumption for this approach is that someone who has real-time support to deal with an addiction is more likely to come through than someone dealing with the problem alone. It's called social support or behavioral intervention and it entails reaching out to someone when the urge to smoke hits.
When you have the support of a loving family member, a friend, a partner, or a spouse, the chances of quitting smoking are much higher. According to the National Institutes for Health (NIH):
"Social support and behavioral interventions are associated with higher intentions to quit among attempters who relapsed and thus, may aid future smoking cessation."
Based on this information, we can assume that any kind of social support or behavioral intervention is beneficial to the person who wants to quit smoking.
We have to add the disclaimer that none of this is medically or scientifically tested and results are not guaranteed in any way. We are simply suggesting a tool that may form a small part of the process of smoking cessation from the viewpoint of having someone to reach out to. This is NOT a technique to quit smoking. Please keep that in mind as you read on.
What is the Modality Used?
When the sponsor or person helping the smoker quit tobacco use doesn't live with the latter, it is useful to have a mode of communication that can pass on a clear message of "I'm with you" or "I'm thinking of you." For example, you can use texting as a way to reach out to that person. But what if you could use something a little more creative?
The communication tool we're referring to is called a friendship lamp, and it can be purchased as a set of two: one for the person attempting to quit smoking and one for the person helping them.
What are Friendship Lamps? They are a pair of touch-operated lamps that can connect to Wi-Fi in two different locations, no matter whether that's just in the next room, down the street, across the country or across the world. Once it's been set up in both locations, if one of the users touches the sensor plate at the top of the lamp, the other lamp lights up in a specific color. Here's a more detailed description of what friendship lamps are and how they work
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Can Friendship Lamps Help a Person Quit Smoking?
Again, the answer is an emphatic "NO." There have been no academic studies to support this and we're reiterating that this is not a technique to quit smoking. However, the fact that behavioral intervention is a known positive factor in the process of tobacco cessation means that friendship lamps can be used as a mode of communication during these crucial moments of intervention when the smoker or tobacco user gets the craving and needs to reach out to someone. It's just one part of the puzzle but an important one. It may need to be followed up with a phone call or even a visit, but it's an immediate step that can be taken when the urge hits. In the same review referred to earlier, the authors mention this, citing studies between 2002 and 2016:
"The positive associations between use of social support or behavioral interventions and smokers’ intentions to quit smoking observed in this study are consistent with results from prior studies illustrating positive benefits of a supportive environment for motivating smokers to quit."
Think of it as a first-responder type of interaction when the most important thing is to keep the subject engaged in something else other than the act of using tobacco. In a way, it's about getting their mind off tobacco for just a moment so other intervention methods can be employed. It simply alerts the helper of the fact that the person trying to quit is going through a tough moment and that further action is required.
If you'd like more information about friendship lamps and how they work, please visit this page