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Do you know a person with disabilities thinking about quitting smoking?

Close-up picture of a cigarette broken in two

Some facts about how caregivers, friends, and family may affect health behaviors of people with disabilities: 

Evidence suggests that the health-related attitudes, knowledge, and behaviors of caregivers serve as key barriers or facilitators achieving meaningful and sustained health improvements in individuals with disabilities.

Caregivers who may not even be aware of the need for positive health behaviors, and who are neither invested in nor capable of demonstrating these behaviors themselves represent a powerful competing force in the lives of individuals with disabilities as they work to improve their diet and exercise habits to combat obesity. Unfortunately, quitting smoking is likely also a health challenge for caregivers.

Although research is limited, studies suggest that caregivers for individuals with disabilities engage in higher rates of dangerous health behaviors such as poor eating habits, sedentary lifestyles, and cigarette smoking.

Here are some ways you can support people in their quit attempt:

Be positive.
Encourage them in their efforts to improve their health.
Find supports in the community.
Make suggestions that they talk to their doctor about quitting, call the Ohio Tobacco Quitline, or sign up for a tobacco cessation program like LIFT.
Help them access cessation resources.
Share websites, print materials, or videos that have information about quitting. 
Quit together.
If you are a smoker, be a quit partner! People are more likely to make changes if they have someone doing it with them.
Direct support staff participating in LIFT classes- Woman in flowered dress standing and smiling

What is LIFT?

LIFT (Living Independent From Tobacco) is an 8-class program to help people quit using tobacco. It is offered over 4 weeks (2 classes per week) with follow up classes at 4 weeks and 6 months.

The classes can benefit anyone who uses tobacco products and wants to learn ways to help them quit and lead a healthier lifestyle.

Classes involve LIFT trainers, people with disabilities, caregivers, health or quit partners, and other supportive individuals.

For more information about how to find a LIFT class near you, please email Ohio Disability and Health Program Tobacco Specialist, Erica Coleman:

Here is what people are saying about how taking the LIFT class can help people quit smoking!

“The LIFT class provided quite a few positive things for the gentleman I work with, as well as myself.

  • It was a very easy class for us both to take and learn from.
  • It plainly informs you of all the side effects that smoking just a few cigarettes a day can cause to harm you.
  • The class takes several weeks to complete, which gives you plenty of support throughout the course. It becomes a natural support group for you.
  • Trying out the different stop smoking products was nice and very helpful. It gave everyone a chance to try 3 different types, and which one you favored to use.
  • It also gave me a chance to spend some good quality time together with the individual I was helping. A chance to share something in common with him.
  • The instructor was great, very patient and understanding with all of us. She interacted with everyone in the class on an even basis, included everyone with the discussions, reading the information book out load and listen to us all.

I ended up quitting smoking, so far knock on wood. My friend I was helping slowed down quite a lot during the course, and shortly afterwards. However he still smokes, but the good thing is, he is now doing it knowing all the dangers and pitfalls of smoking. I feel confident that he now knows enough about smoking that he can make an informed decision on whether to smoke, or not to smoke.

In our field it’s our job to provide different learning opportunities for the folks we serve. I recommend this course to anyone who smokes, you’ll leave with the knowledge that you try to ignore while smoking. It’s also a way to spend good positive quality time with the individual you helping.”   -K.P.      

Middle-aged man smiling. He is wearing glasses, a baseball hat, and a green t-shirt.

What are some actions people can take to make changes and quit smoking?

Stages of Change diagram- Lists things people can do at each of the stages- Not thinking about making a change, thinking about making a change, making plans for a change, ready to start making a change, have made a change and are keeping it going

Informational resources to support people in the quit process:

WEBSITE: Helping a Smoker Quit
Fact Sheet: Be Healthy. Save Money. Live Smoke Free
Video: What is the Single Best Thing You Can Do to Quit Smoking?
Quit Support Card (print cards and give to your friends, family, or staff)
Replace Smoking with… (Idea sheet)
Factsheet: Are Tobacco Quit Tools Right for Me?