Monday, May 20, 2013

Smoking

So the ACE study by Kaiser Permanente showed that people who had experienced trauma had higher rates of smoking. After meeting with a client several times to get some resources like Medi-Cal, Foodstamps, WIC, Head Start, etc., I approached the subject of smoking. I explained reasons why people tend to smoke. The topic of stress came up and the client admitted smoking more when stressed. So we did some deep breathing and I said I'd come back with more information. Then as I was going to another home visit, I saw one of my co-workers smoking outside. I was disappointed considering that we're a family health program and support healthy behaviors. I was a little shocked and angry that my co-worker would be exposing me to toxic fumes! Especially, after having allergy testing done recently and learning all about environmental factors' affect on health. However, this person has no children. It's fascinating to see how smoking has changed in the last 100 years. In California, it's practically impossible to smoke without getting the stink eye from someone or having to walk 100 feet away from a building to do it. However, those things don't solve the problem. If people truly smoke to feel a little bit of normalcy, then forcing them to be outcasts and smoke at the very end of the parking lot isn't going to help. As employers, ,we need to provide a  community, support, therapy, non-judgment, and understand to the root of the problem. When I left my clients home I said, I'm not asking you to quit smoking, I just want you to think about it (Spanglish, anyone?) I gave a notebook and asked the client to track down when and how often a cigarette is smoked. My next tactic will be for me to ask when and why smoking was started? This client had quit for 2 years before children, so I know it's possible to quit smoking for this client. It's all about setting up the environment, changing the triggers, finding ways to cope with stress and routine, making small changes that build into a big difference. I don't know how much longer the client will be open to my services, but I hope to find a group to refer to that may offer more personal support when I'm gone.

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