How to Talk to your Health Care Provider
It can be hard to talk to your health care provider about smoking. Most people feel at least a little uncomfortable about it. Here are some reasons it can sometimes be difficult:
- A health care provider's training and knowledge can be intimidating.
- It may feel like your health care provider is "too busy to listen".
- Bringing up smoking to your health care provider can feel like you are bothering them about problems that are “too small” or “silly”.
- Sometimes women would rather keep their smoking private.
- It might be scary to hear about the negative effects of smoking.
- You may even worry that your health care provider will be upset or disappointed with you for smoking.
- Some women might think that they shouldn't have to get help to quit smoking.
- Smoking and pregnancy seem especially private and personal. Some women are embarrassed to admit to their health care provider that they are still smoking while they are pregnant.
For all of these reasons and more, women often decide not to talk to their health care provider about these challenges. In fact, many women walk away from their health care provider's office without having talked about what they really wanted to talk about.
You may be nervous or uncomfortable about discussing your smoking with your health care provider. Your anxiety about talking to your health care provider may also prevent you from getting the support you need. Your health care provider should be able to give you lots of helpful suggestions, referrals to local programs and support and encouragement.
When you start getting anxious about discussing your smoking with your health care provider, remember these facts:
- Your health care provider is not too busy to listen to your concerns.
- Your health care provider wants to help and has been trained to help.
- Your concerns about smoking are not "too small" or "too silly".
- Some people might have grown up thinking they could just "snap out of it" and "quit cold turkey", so they are embarrassed to bring it up. But your health care provider knows it is harder than this.
Most people say that getting help with quitting or reducing was the hardest thing they ever did. Most people also say that getting help was the best thing they ever did. Talking to your health care provider can be a first step towards getting control of your smoking. Most people feel at least a little better right away, just from telling their health care provider about their smoking.
Your health care provider can help you quit or reduce smoking in a way that fits your life and who you are as a person.
No matter how prepared you are to talk to your health care provider about smoking, they may still not be receptive. Talking about smoking and pregnancy is a two-way street. If you are not getting a helpful response, consider talking to a different health care provider. Many people are available to give you the support and information you need about smoking including: doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, social workers, counsellors and more.