Tips for Family and Friends


Whether or not the smoker in your life is ready to quit smoking, there are some strategies you can use to either get them thinking about making a quit attempt, or support their decision to quit.  These strategies can be simplified into the “4 E’s”:


Start a caring and respectful conversation with the smoker to express your concerns for their health and how it may be affected by smoking.  Allow them to express to you what they enjoy about smoking and their fears about quitting.  If they are prepared to quit, ask how you can help them reach their smoke-free goal and let them know you will give them the support they need.


Rather than focus on risks and dangers of smoking, help them see the benefits of quitting -- e.g., improvements in health and physical appearance, monetary savings, freedom from the addiction!  You may also want to make them aware of how second-hand smoke can affect other family members, including pets!


Express confidence in the smoker’s ability to quit smoking.  Congratulate them on whatever effort they are making – either considering a quit attempt, or making the decision to quit.  If they make a quit attempt, celebrate their progress along the way.  If the smoker relapses, encourage them to try again, and praise them for their effort in each and every attempt until it sticks!


Try to imagine the magnitude of the challenge facing the smoker, and be patient with them as they struggle to overcome their addiction.   Try to understand that they may truly enjoy smoking and that this is a major lifestyle change for them. 


There are other methods for communicating effectively with the smoker in your life -- please view our article on the CRAFT approach. 


We also have additional information on how to be helpful to your friend or loved one as they progress through the change process. 


For more hints for family and friends to help a smoker quit, visit: