Blog Post created by dr_hurt on Apr 23, 2010

When we stop smoking it is usually helpful if we have some kind of support to help us through the tough moments.  But it's important that we get the kind of support from others we actually need.  Our family and friends mean well, but they don't always give us what we need in terms of "helpful" support.  Nagging never works and even makes things worse, but some people think they're being supportive when they push us.

The kind of support you will need depends much on the kind of person you are.  For example, some people thrive on competition so having another smoker who is also trying to stop to compete with is helpful to you and supports your efforts at stopping smoking.  Others of us would rather be gently encouraged and only rarely have the topic of quitting smoking brought up for conversation.  Some of us are somewhere in between.

Regardless, it is up to YOU to make clear to your support system what kind of support you need from them and what they need to NOT do in their efforts to assist you in your quit attempt.  Sometimes you may want to talk about the feelings you are having and for others you may need some space.  It is absolutely okay for you to set those boundaries but do not assume others around you know where those boundaries are.  Don't wait for them to come to you.  You go to them.  Sit them down and be specific about what you need from them and that way you will be much more likely to receive the type of support you need and deserve from others.  Don't be afraid, go talk with your support system today.  They want to help but need direction from you. Click here to read more about re-learning support.


Dr. Richard D. Hurt is an internationally recognized expert on tobacco dependence. A native of Murray, Kentucky, he joined Mayo Clinic in 1976 and is now a Professor of Medicine at its College of Medicine. In 1988, he founded the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center and since then its staff has treated more than 50,000 patients for tobacco dependence. Send your questions directly to Dr. Hurt at AskTheExpert@becomeanex.org