~~Our greatest duty and our main responsibility is to help others. But please, if you can't help them, would you please not hurt them.~~ Dalai Lama
A long time ago, I was trying to quit smoking. It was a struggle, I was in a 'bad' place in my life, and had no clue at the time how smoking was addictive. Some well meaning person told me that I needed to stop being a victim in life or I would never quit.
At that particular time, those words devastated me. I retreated back into my self-preservation mode and stopped trying to quit smoking. I didn't trust opening myself up to anyone else for quite awhile after that. I healed with time, self-care, and the love of those close to me.
That well meaning person probably still has no idea that her words didn't help. That well meaning person would probably still defend her position that you can't go through life with victim mentality. But at that time in my life, I was a sexual assault victim who had yet to regain balance and her words cut instead of offered hope.
Elders are the best tool in quitting smoking, no doubt. The wisdom and experience in recovery can be a tremendous help to those struggling in their quits. But we don't know the person behind the avatar...behind the cute little user ID. And since most of us aren't doctors or psychiatrists or therapists, we need to walk gently through the lives of others. Criticism, no matter how well intentioned, can damage a soul that may not be whole. Talking coping skills is one thing, talking medication changes is something else. Discussing quit tool kits is helpful, discussing how everyone coughs after quitting is something else (always get a doctor's opinion about physical conditions!).
We all want smokers to quit and we all have unique ways to assist. But we simply need to keep in mind the fact that we have no clue what smokers are truly feeling or dealing with in their personal lives. Anxiety for one person could be PTSD in another. We need to tread gently and remember that these smokers are unique souls as well and may be working through a broken heart, the loss of a loved one, mental health issues, or some other life event that makes them fragile. Handle with care.