Monday, January 25, 2010

How to Persuade Someone to Quit Smoking

How to Persuade Someone to Quit Smoking

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

If you are concerned about a friend, family member or colleague you know who is a smoker, try this approach to encourage them to quit.


  1. Sit down with the person and tell him or her that you're worried about his or her health. Ask your friend to quit smoking. Give your friend your reasons, and stick to facts. Be honest about why it upsets you so much that the person you care about is smoking and damaging his or her health.
  2. Ask the person if they would like to quit. Chances are they do, but sometimes, they don't. Persisting may only exacerbate the problem and bring guilt.
  3. Find out what reasons for quitting are important to the person and help explore them in more detail. Someone who has given up on his or her own health may still be concerned for the health of loved ones.
  4. Listen to what is keeping them from quitting. Can you help to address those reasons?
  5. Offer your help. If the person says that he or she just cannot quit, offer your help. Be supportive and gentle. If the smoker denies being addicted, say "I've seen the number of times a day you smoke. I see how you're always interrupting your fun times or leaving the office quickly because you need a cigarette. I've seen you coughing and gasping for air while you're smoking. This isn't healthy, and it's all signs of smoking addiction."
  6. Remind the person that with every puff of smoke he or she breathes out, someone else breathes that in (passive smoking) and inform the person that there are almost half of a million second-hand smoke related deaths each year.
  7. Remind him or her just how much money can be saved by not smoking.
  8. Mix honesty, care, plain facts and even a tinge of guilt to convince your friend or colleague. Remember, you're not here to have them quit smoking in just 10 minutes. You're asking this person just to give it a try.
  9. Be supportive. Once they agree to try to quit, ask them how they would like to quit. Smokers usually want to quit gradually. But if the person is eager to quit, offer assistance by way of suggesting literature to read, anti-tobacco chewing gum etc.
  10. Help eliminate smoking areas. If the smoker has asked to quit gradually, start eliminating places to smoke. If the smoker is your husband or wife, try eliminating the smoking areas in your home and only allow smoking on a back porch or maybe one room only. This will work best if you and the former smoker agree. Remember, spouses cannot be treated like children. Give him or her a couple of hours to collect all smoking-related materials from the rest of the house. If after that, you find a lighter in the bathroom, it goes in the garbage. A pack of cigarettes on the sofa? Trash them.
  11. Eliminate smoking in the house or office completely. In 2-3 weeks, forbid smoking in the house altogether. Then eliminate smoking in the backyard, then front yard, the front door spaces etc., until the person can no longer smoke unless standing on the sidewalk or curb line.
  12. Discuss what to do when your friend or colleague wants a cigarette, and help provide alternatives. Here are some things to do: call a friend, take a walk, groom your dog, watch a sitcom, eat a pretzel, learn a foreign language, do a dance routine, read a book, research something fascinating, read the paper, watch the ball game, draw a picture, cut the lawn, plant some flowers, drink a cup of tea, try a new recipe or write a wikiHow. Consider whether doing some sort of thing that resembles the act of smoking might be more effective, like going to the usual smoking area and popping in a piece of gum. In other words, take that 5-10 minute break that has become a ritual for the smoker. Maybe join them in the activity whenever they have the urge to smoke.
  13. Make it clear you're not there to babysit, but to support them.
  14. Always show that you are aware of how difficult it is to quit smoking and how strong your friend is being. Feeling proud will help your friend to cope.
  15. Always be there for your friend or colleague. Your most important role is to support this person that you care about. Give him or her love and encouragement. This is a tough time for him or her and there will be feelings of resistance, anger, resentment and addictive cravings. Your support is crucial to helping the person through this period.
  16. Ask often how they are doing. Knowing that someone is going to check can help to keep people on track. Don't be too critical if the person slips, especially at first or the first time they try to quit. Do remind and encourage them to try again, though.
  17. Listen to your friend and make a point to talk often. Quitting smoking may be a frustrating or difficult time, and it will help to have someone to talk to about it.
  18. Thank them for quitting and for sticking to it, and celebrate the victory. The first two to three weeks is likely to be the hardest (though cravings may continue off and on for more than a year) so plan some sort of celebration or reward for them in exchange for making it through the first two or three weeks of not smoking.
  19. Remind the person often how proud you are of them for trying to quit. Rewards and praise are often more powerful motivators than guilt or nagging.


  • Make sure to ask the person if they really want to quit. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP! If they don't want to quit, tell them that you are available and willing to support them whenever they decide to quit, and keep encouraging them.
  • If your friend starts smoking again, tell them it is normal and most smokers need a couple of tries to quit, so they are on the right track. If you make them feel like losers, the chances are that they will not try again to quit smoking, for fear of failing again and feeling that bad again.
  • Buy the book by Alan Carr The Easy Way to Quit Smoking for them, or buy a similar self-help book, show them reviews for the book, and convince them to read it. Better yet, read it together, and work on a plan out loud.
  • If you find cigarettes, lighters, or other smoking "tools" where they're not supposed to be, hide them in a secret place that the smoker doesn't know about (change it often, so even in the person does find it one week, they won't be able to next week) and wait until trash day to put it out on the curb. This will reduce temptation to go digging through the trash for the pack they left next to the T.V.
  • Do not move on eliminating areas to smoke. For example, if you say no smoking in the house, and you catch him smoking in the house, don't move on according to schedule, and eliminate smoking in the yard. Wait until the person has completely master one leg of this difficult journey, before you move on to the next.
  • Though it isn't any better for the smokers health, you may suggest they switch to chewing tobacco if they do not wish to use nicotine gum. Have them try to use pouches such as skoal wintergreen pouches so that it's easier to avoid getting the tobacco all over their mouths.


  • Don't be too strict or critical, especially during the first couple of weeks. This will be a very difficult time for the smoker, to get over the worst of the withdrawal symptoms.

Related wikiHows

Sources and Citations

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Persuade Someone to Quit Smoking. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

No comments:

Post a Comment