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How to talk to your health care provider


​​​A health care provider can be any medical staff (e.g. doctor, nurse) or another helping profession (e.g. pharmacist, social worker, counsellor). It can be hard to talk to your health care provider about smoking. Many people feel uncomfortable or nervous about it. 

​​Here are some reasons it can be difficult:
  • A healthcare professional's training and knowledge can be intimidating.
  • It may feel like they are "too busy to listen".
  • Bringing up smoking to them can feel like you are bothering them about problems that are "too small" or "silly".
  • Some people want to keep their smoking private.
  • It might be scary to hear about the negative effects of smoking.
  • You may worry they will be upset or disappointed with you for smoking.
  • Some people might think that they shouldn't have to get help to quit smoking.

​For women who are pregnant, smoking and pregnancy can feel private and personal. It can be embarrassing or guilt-packed to admit to their healthcare provider that they are still smoking while they are pregnant.​

If you worry about talking about your smoking with your health care provider, remember:​
  • ​They are not too busy to listen to you.
  • They are trained to help.  
  • They want to help.
  • Your concerns about smoking are not "too small" or "too silly".
  • Some people may have thought they could just "snap out of it" and "quit cold turkey", so they are embarrassed to bring it up. But your healthcare provider knows it is hard to quit or reduce smoking.
  • The quit journey is personal. Sometimes a comment might make you turn away from quitting smoking. Don't be discouraged​.
​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 healthcare provider can be a first step towards getting control of your smoking. Most people feel a little better right away, just from telling their healthcare provider about their smoking. 
​​Sometimes there will be situation where even if you are ready to talk to your healthcare provider about smoking, they might not listen or give you the support you need. If you are not getting the help you need, try talking to a different healthcare provider. There are many people who can give you the support and information you need about smoking including: doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, social workers, counsellors and more. ​
You can click the PDF link for a pocket sized guide on Talking to Your Health Care Professional: Talking to Your Health Care Professional.pdf