Tips for Former Smokers and How They Can Help Someone Who is Trying To Stop Smoking

Blog Post created by dr_hurt on Jan 26, 2009

Former smokers can be of great assistance to a current smoker who wants to stop smoking. However, if the smoker feels people are pressuring them to quit, the reaction can be stronger resistance to quitting. Smokers who are considering stopping respond more positively to others who show an understanding of their struggle, and the difficulty of trying to quit.

Although the former smoker may have a strong concern and passion for the importance of quitting smoking, they can offer support through methods which are not perceived as criticism or being judgmental. Remember it is the behavior and the addiction that is at work here and a person is not of poor character or of less value because they happen to smoke.

One approach many smokers might find helpful, is to ask what the smoker would like for support. An example: "I understand it can be tough for you, and I'd like to know how you think I might be helpful to you in your efforts to quit?" Or, "I don't want you to feel I'm pressuring you, so let me know if there is anything I can do to help." In fact, give the smoker permission to tell you to leave them alone at times when they need a little space.

The fact that you are a former smoker provides an example of hope. However, expecting the smoker to use the same method or ideas to quit that worked for you may be off base.

Offer to do something with the smoker, such as take a walk, or an activity in which they could keep their mind off smoking. Rather then saying something like "stop fidgeting! You're driving me crazy. Can't you think of something to do?" Another helpful example: "Okay, so you used tobacco once. I know you can get back on track." Instead of: "I knew you wouldn't make it. Soon you'll be right back where you started." Use your intuition and common sense to be a good support person.