Supporting Smokers to Quit

You are excited that your Friend or Loved One has told you they want to quit smoking. Naturally, you want to do everything that you can in order to help them. Supporting Smokers to quit can often make a huge difference.

We must remember that quitting smoking is very difficult, and your support helping someone quit smoking can be instrumental. This necessitates a few critical questions and guidelines of the do’s and don’ts to maximize success.

What if the Smoker doesn’t want to Quit?

Quitting smoking is probably the single best thing a person can do for themselves and their health. But the decision to quit is one they have to make for themselves.

When it comes to breaking free from any addiction, the decision needs to come from within. This simply means that no amount of trying to convince or coax your partner into quitting smoking will help unless your partner actually wants to quit.

The motivation needs to be for the Smoker to personally benefit. A Smoker will not benefit nor will they stay quit over the long term if they are stopping for someone else.

What if I Smoke?

If your Smoker is quitting and you’ve also been thinking about it, now could be a good time for you to quit as well. Decide how you will handle your own smoking around them. Be sure to honestly ask yourself whether or not you can be supportive while continuing to smoke.

In the effort to support someone quitting smoking, we cannot ignore our own smoking behavior. Helping someone quit smoking is a noble task, but if you continue to smoke yourself, it is best to stay out of it.

What if they Fail to Stop Smoking?

If your Smoker is not successful the first time around, remember that this is not the end of the world. Another effort can always be made. It is just a temporary setback, not a failure.

The Smoker hasn’t failed until they stop trying. We will want to take care not to ruin any further attempts to quit.

Don’t Lecture

Lectures, nagging, and scolding won’t help your friend or family member quit smoking. It might just put you on their bad side. They may not come to you for help when they feel that they really need it.

He or she will feel pressure instead of support. That’s just the way a Smoker thinks.

Many Smokers don’t realize the emotional and physical damage their habit has on loved ones.

The Smoker will feel denied. They will feel like they can’t smoke. Unless we psychologically train ourselves to counteract the denial, the feelings of deprivation will actually cause a relapse and actually drive the Smoker right back to smoking.

Instead, programs to help the Smoker feel peaceful and confident in their approach is probably a wiser choice.

Be Patient and Positive

Supporting someone who is trying to quit smoking can be frustrating and exhausting. Focus on staying upbeat. Don’t give up on them. Your support is important.

The withdrawal that can come from quitting smoking may make a person moody and irritable. Don’t take their moodiness and irritability personally. It is not directed at you.

What else can I do to Help?

Nicotine is a drug, and a nicotine addiction can be emotionally and physically challenging, especially as your partner encounters withdrawals and cravings.

The cravings a person might face can be hard to deal with. Don’t let them lose confidence in quitting.

Suggest to your Smoker that they use the online tips, tools, and support available on this site.  Abstinence Psychotherapy is also available here.

Correctly preparing to quit smoking with proper motivation is key.

Questions and comments are always welcome.

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4 Replies to “Supporting Smokers to Quit”

  1. Hi There,
    As a smoker of many years, your article was of great interest and offered many insights on what and what not to do. I certainly agree that it is impossible to make or change anyone who is not ready and the decision must be their own.
    To try and change anyone we need to understand that when the time is right the desire to change will override there desire to stay the same.
    To nag and be critical is a no-win situation, much patience and understanding are required.
    Willpower to all and take it easy on yourself and know that when the time is right you WILL move forward

    1. Hello Paul,

      I see that you do agree that it is useless to scold,nag,or preach to a Smoker. It is truly a waste of time and only makes people defensive… However, a point of the article seems to need clarification… 

      It was never meant to advocate procrastination…. If we are to stop smoking, we need to be honest with ourselves about this.

      A word of caution: ….. There is no such thing as “The Right Time”… A Smoker is an addict and, as such, will grasp on any excuse to procrastinate…. Given that there is absolutely no benefit whatsoever to procrastinating,  “The Time will be Right” only when we can get honest about dealing with the addiction.

      Thanks for helping me to tie up that loose end.


  2. People smoke because they have a part of them missing. Meaning they do not feel sufficient but inferior. I remember my ex boyfriend from many year sago who smoked. I hated it; still do. Well hate is such a harsh word; I’ll go with “dislike”. So that is when I learned that they smoke because they feel they cannot accomplish things in life and they have a low self esteem.

    1. Welcome back, Linda….

      While the Stop for Life program is based on psychological principles and correcting distorted thinking, most smokers do not necessarily suffer from low self-esteem… I think what you may have been witnessing was the exasperation of a frustrated Smoker trying to stop. 

      The other factor, IMO, is the manifestation of fear of failure and fear of stopping

      Good to see you again !

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