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Smoking Cessation and Stages of the Change

There is a situation when a client addresses to a social service organization for help to solve his smoking cessation. The client is a 43-year-old Black man from New York, who started smoking after his father passed away. The client had a smoking history when he was a teenager. He smoked approximately one pack per day, but he quitted the habit because of the problems with his heart and the necessity to be a good example for his son. The current personal issues caused stress. He did not even notice how he bought a packet of cigarettes and started smoking again. Regarding the current situation, it is possible to say that the client is at his relapse stage that could easily regress to some earlier stages including the pre-contemplation stage (Prochaska, Norcross, & DiClemente, 2013). Therefore, it is important to identify the questions to ask the client during each possible stage and access the resources that could help the client move from one stage to another.

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Pre-Contemplation Stage


The client should be asked about the reasons why the habit returns to his life and about his intentions to make a change in the future. If the positive answers are obtained, the person is ready to move to another stage.


If negative answers are obtained, the client needs additional resources to pass a change successfully. For example, it is possible to mention that one-third of smokers die because of the direct result of smoking in New York (Public Health Solutions, 2016). In other words, statistics and facts could be used to prove the necessity of change.

Contemplation Stage


As soon as the person understands the presence of the problem, it is important to clarify his awareness of the alternatives. Therefore, such questions as “Do you know the possible pros of this change?”, “Are you aware of possible outcomes of your smoking in your family?”, or “Do you know about the alternatives to smoking?” could be posed.


Instilling hope is one of the main interventions at this stage. The client should believe that the change is possible, and his bad habit could be dropped in case alternatives are considered.

Preparation Stage


The main question at this stage includes the outcomes of the change. The client should be ready to answer one question: “What could happen if you never drop smoking?” The client should think about the future of his family, his son, the development of the relations, and his possible heart problems in case he cannot manage to stop smoking again.


His son or his wife could be the main resource at this stage because they could prove that his health and the absence of the smoking habit may improve their lives considerably.

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Action Stage


At this stage, the client should have clear answers to such questions as “Why do you want to quit smoking?” and “Do you observe the changes in your behavior?”.


Verbal reinforcements from his family and the social workers could help the client to pass through this stage a lot. Specific achievements and personal observations could be used to facilitate the changing process.

Maintenance Stage


The questions like “Are you satisfied with the results achieved?” and “Do you want additional changes being promoted with time?” should help the client to comprehend the worth of the changes offered.


The description of the relations and the outcomes achieved could help the client clarify the success of the change.

The results of the change process are hard to predict, but the client has all changes to achieve positive results in a short period.


Prochaska, J.O., Norcross, J.C., & DiClemente, C.C. (2013). Applying the stages of change. Psychotherapy in Australia, 19(2), 10-15.

Public Health Solutions. (2016). In New York City… Web.

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