Talking to Family and Friends Who Smoke
Who will support you when you quit? Go to the Support Exercise and identify your support system now.
Your support network starts right here in the EX Community. Ask Community members – ex-smokers just like you! – how to handle conversations with your friends, family, and coworkers who smoke and the ones who don’t. They’ve been through it and can tell you what works, and what to do if those conversations don’t go as well as you hoped. Meet other ex-smokers now.
The EX Community is also useful if you’re living with a smoker and quitting smoking. It gives you a way to stay strong when you are at home. Treat it like your friend, your lifeline. It will help you when times get hard during your quit attempt. People are posting 24/7 – why not check it out?
But what about the "real world?" You’ll probably find that most of your family, friends or coworkers who smoke cigarettes will be very supportive of your decision to stop smoking. So ask them not to smoke around you for a few weeks. They’ll understand.
Some of these people, however, won’t be as helpful — they may smoke cigarettes right in front of you and even make fun of your decision to quit smoking. But those people are a part of your life, too, even if smoking cigarettes isn’t. So part of Re-learning Support is re-learning how to deal with some of these difficult situations with important people in your life. Here are some examples of how you might handle unsupportive people:
Your friend says: "Come on, you know you're not gonna quit."
Tell them: "You know what? I may not, but I am going to try anyway. You could help, though, by not offering me any cigs and not smoking around me. Let's just see if I can pull this off."
Your friend says: "We're going to the bar tonight. Why aren't you coming?"
Tell them: "Give me a month to get steady on this quit-smoking thing. Once I get past the first few rocky days, I'll be there."
Your friend says: "Why are you doing this?"
Blame your doctor. Seriously. He or she won't mind being the bad guy: "Tell me about it. I'd love to smoke, but my doctor says I really HAVE to quit."
Look, some people might continue to give you a hard time or smoke cigarettes in front of you, simply avoid them for a while. If that’s not possible, get additional support. Here are some options:
- Quit smoking with a friend. Quitting smoking with someone else can be very helpful, especially when one of you feels weak. But just remember, you’re quitting for YOU, not your friend. If your friend changes his or her mind and starts smoking cigarettes again, that doesn’t mean you have to.
- Find a quit smoking coach or a local stop-smoking resource by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
- Enter a residential quit smoking treatment program such as the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center.