Husband, COPD and quitting smoking

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Hi, I have been reading messages on here off and on for quite some time and finally decided to joint today.

I keep trying to find an answer to this one question, but am not really finding any--though I think I know what the answer will be.

 My husband has had COPD for approx. 3 years, first they said it was asthma, then not long after, they said he had COPD.  It is getting worse as time progresses, and it's very hard to see his decline.  Here's the thing, he DOES still smoke--if anyone asks, even doctors, he says he is NOT smoking.  With me, when I bring up wishing he would quit and wondering how his health would be now, if he had quit when first diagnosed, he says something like, "I am not smoking cigarettes, I am smoking Cigarillos, and only take a few puffs at a time.  I know I should quit, but you (me) don't understand how hard it is, and the "Cigarillo's somehow make me feel better."  I have never had a smoking addiction, but I do see the strong hold it has on him.  

I want  him around for a long time to come, is there any way, I can "coax" him into quitting completely?  I am sure even those "few puffs" each day cannot be helping.  I wish I could "make" him stop, but I am sure you will all say I can't do that, that it has to come from him,  but it's so hard to see him suffer.

Some days, he will be having a hard time breathing, tell me just that, and then he goes out to have a cigarette, (well, as he would correct me, cigarillo), and I try to make that point when he comes in, obviously still having a hard time, but it's like the smoking has a stronger hold on him than anything.

Any ideas?

Thank you so much.

Deano52

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  • Posted

    Sorry to hear about your husband. How old is he ? How long has he been smoking ? 
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    • Posted

      Hi, He is 64, has been smoking since his teen years.  They say his COPD is from a combination of smoking, working with asbestos, various chemicals and fly ash.  His lungs were assaulted through his work for years, but of course back then, we didn't know what we know now.  He has a great pulmonologist.  He's on oxygen 24/7.  He now has terrible anxiety over his breathing, where he used to be the one I could count on to be calm and help me to relax if I was upset over something. 

      Thanks for asking!

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    • Posted

      Being a smoker for years its really hard to kick the habit. But I think the best way to even start trying in to try switching to vaping. May be that helps or atleast reduce the number of fags he smokes in a day.
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    • Posted

      Hi, Thanks, He did try vaping a number of years ago.  He stuck with it for a bit, but then eventually stopped.  I don't remember exactly why he stopped.  I think he just said it wasn't the same as actually smoking a cigarette.

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  • Posted

    Sorry to hear that.  You know the answer already don't you?  You can't make someone stop smoking unless they want to unfortunately.  I have mild copd and am still smoking but know I have to give up. I am sure he knows this too.

    I can only say what would help me to stop.   Instead of having people 'nagging' me which only makes me feel worse,   I want people to tell me I am strong and can do this.   Do not run him down or make him feel guilty coz that way he will only dig his heels in even more.  You need to build his confidence up rather than this.   

    Or you could try the ignoring effect.   Don't mention it at all for a while which would take the pressure off him and maybe he will realise himself that he has to give up.   Good luck.  x 

     

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    • Posted

      Oh I meant to say as well that smokers smoke coz of stress and pressure and the more (or anyone) talks about it it makes me want to have a fag.

      Also all smokers these days know what this can cause ie lung cancer etc.  so don't assume he doesn't because he won't stop.  Most smokers I know laugh a the graphic messages on the tobacco and say well it's too late for me then.  I know that's crazy but that's the way it is. 

      He has done well to stop cigarettes and go on to the small cigars,  so praise him for making an effort.  Ok?  x

       

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    • Posted

      Thanks hypercat.  I have tried ignoring it, hoping he will come around, but then eventually I seem to start with the nagging again, which I agree, does not help at all.

      I will try your idea of telling him he is strong and that he can do it!

      Thank you so much!

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    • Posted

      Hi Deano

      This occasionally works: instead of telling him what he needs, tell him what you need. "I love you and I need you. I need you with me as long as possible. How can I help you?"

      You don't necessarily have to mention smoking or quitting smoking. If you have kids/grandkids, mention that they still need him & want him in their lives.

      If that doesn't work, start new house rules, specifically no smoking in the house or garage or car, and he has to smoke at least 15" away from the door, AND police his own butts.

      BTW: is he trotting down to the store to buy these things? Because neither you nor anyone in your family or close friends should be picking them up for him. You can always throw them away, by which I mean tear them to shreds, douse them in water then take that mess to the outdoor bin.

      As to the nagging, etc: This is why Alanon & Alateen came into existence. Most of us who live with any kind of addiction develop distorted ways of functioning. If you want to learn how to live differently within yourself and maybe learn how not to nag, try Al Anon. It won't fix him but may bring you to peace with not being able to fix him.

      No one ever did these things for me, though I've gone to Al Anon because of 2 addicts in my life.

      No one ever told me until far too late that those last 10 years of smoking only 5 cigs daily counted to my lungs as 10 more years of smoking a pack a day.

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    • Posted

      In line with what I told Deano: you give sage counsel here and I & everyone else here need you with us as long as possible. If I can ever help you in your struggle, please speak up or pm me.

      Aitarg

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    • Posted

      Hi, thanks for the suggestions.  I have already tried many of them in the past, including trying to build him up, telling him I am proud of him for anything he wants to try, I will stand behind him, help him if needed, etc.  I have tried telling him I want him around for myself and our kids (who are grown), and for any future grandchildren.

      He doesn't smoke in the house, but he does in our attached garage.  Thankfully, he takes care of his own butts.  And yes, he is trotting down to the store to buy his own cigarettes smile  I refused to buy them for him even when he was "healthy."  It's sad though, he takes his small, portable oxygen tank with him, and goes into the convenience store with that to get his cigarettes.  Makes me want to cry when he does it.

      He was in the hospital for 2 weeks in September.  I found him unresponsive in bed one morning, barely breathing.  I could not wake him.  Ambulance said his BP ws very low as well as his pulse, and when they got to the hospital, his CO2 ws high.  He was intubated before I even got there, then spent a week intubated and came off the ventilator fine (thankfully) and spent another week in the hospital.  He has recovered wonderfully, BUT on the way home from the hospital that day, he wanted me to stop at the gas station and go in to get his cigarettes.  I couldn't understand WHY after 2 weeks off of them, he wanted to start up again.  We got into a big argument over it.  He then wanted to try to go in on his own, tripped and fell on the curb, ended up with a skin tear, thankfully no broken bones.  It really was not a good scene.  I just still cannot fathom how someone gets so addicted that they will go through that to get their "fix," but again, I realize I don't know the pull they hold over someone.

      I want to throw them away, but I know he will just go get more, so I haven't done that.

      Thank you so much for all your advice.  

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  • Posted

    Dear Deano52

    I totally sympathize with what you're going through. My husband was diagnosed 8/9 years ago (on New Year's Eve during the swine/flu period while we were visiting our son in UK) He spent over a week in hospital. He was a smoker since the age of 11. It took him 2 years after that to finally give smoking up. He used patches and chewing gum. I never thought I would see the day when he would quit as he did not really want to. Keep on at him, prepare plenty of snacks for when he feels like a smoke. But those two Nicorette things did help with the problem. And good luck.

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    • Posted

      I have to add this. By keeping on at him I do not mean, nagging. Do it gently. One thing the pulmonologist said to him when he admitted he was still smoking really had an effect I think. He told him calmly but steadily 'each time you smoke it's like adding fuel to a fire. That's what you're doing to your lungs.' I am not saying it was not a struggle, but every time I smelt cigarettes on his clothes etc, I brought this up. And he started admitting as it was aggravating his cough. One day I just went to the chemist's and bought him the two products, gum and patches. By the way he was 62 when he was diagnosed. 71 in two months'. Oh and we'd tried the cigars too.  I was not pleased with them either, because years before my dad went on cigars to get off cigarettes, two years later, he got throat cancer and passed within 9 months. Kept reminded him about this too. You have to be a bit blunt, but supportive too, which I am sure you are. I was desperate at times, so I know it's a battle. And pray.

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    • Posted

      Jonah 23, Thanks for your response. I appreciate it.  I did buy him some Nicorette gum the other day, as he said he may be interested in trying it.  So, I bought a small package, and said, if he tries it and needs more, I will be happy to get it.  

      Along the lines of what  the pulm. said to  your husband, one day, my husband said he was having a hard time breathing, and the next thing I know, he is out having a cigarette.  When he came in, I asked if he realized what he just did, saying he can't breathe but then having a cigarette.  He, of course, did, but it didn't change things.  I thought it would change things for him, but it didn't.

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    • Posted

      Believe me Deano52 I experienced a lot of those episodes. He was being sneaky and lying about not smoking and me smelling it and at times I hated him for doing damage to himself. One Easter we were due to fly to UK but GP stopped it as he had such a bad cough and breathlessness. A few days later I went out and came back to catch him in his pyjamas smoking away. I was absolutely gutted and felt so cheated. I asked him how he could do that, stopping us from visiting our baby grand-daughter because he was so ill, and he had the cheek to smoke again. I was ready to pack my bags after 34 years. Don't give up please. He just said to me this minute 'the only thing that stopped him was me being so firm. I did not know this till now. But the gum and patches did help. It gave him something to turn to while he was being weaned off nicotine.

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    • Posted

      Again, thank you.  We have been together 27 years.  I have those feelings of hate at times, too.  I definitely do not hate him, but in the moment, when I am feeling so lost and angry, it's what comes to mind.  Thanks for helping to validate my feelings.

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