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Talking to Family & Friends Who Use Tobacco

Some hikes are best enjoyed solo, letting you get in touch with yourself and your surroundings. Others are more enjoyable with at least one other person, supporting and encouraging you and just enjoying the trek.

Either way, you always want to let someone know before you head out into the woods.

Your support network might start in the EX Community. Our Community members have been in your shoes, and have great advice about how to handle conversations with your friends, family, and coworkers who use tobacco 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. Come check out the Community!

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. The tried and true advice of others who have been there will help you when times get hard on your journey.

But what about the "real world?" You'll probably find that most of your family, friends or coworkers who use tobacco will be very supportive of your decision to stop. So ask them not to use tobacco around you for a few weeks. They'll understand.

Some of these people might, however, not be as helpful — they may use tobacco right in front of you or make you feel bad about quitting. But those people are a part of your life, too, even if tobacco isn't. Part of going tobacco-free is 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:
Tell them:

Your friend says:

"Come on, you know you're not gonna quit."

Tell them:

"You know what? Today I've made up my mind to try. You can help by not using tobacco around me and not offering me any. 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 some time to get steady on quitting. Once I get past the the rocky part, I'll be there."

Your friend says:

Your friend says: "Why are you doing this?"

Tell them:

Blame your doctor. Seriously. He or she won't mind being the bad guy: "I've got lots of reasons, but the biggest is that my doctor says I really HAVE to quit. No ifs, ands, or butts."

Some people might continue to give you a hard time or smoke, vape, dip or chew in front of you. Avoid them for a while, if you can. If that's not possible, get additional support. Here are some options:

  • Quit tobacco with a friend. Quitting 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 using tobacco again, that doesn't mean you have to.
  • Sign up for the BecomeAnEX quitting text message program for ongoing support. Whether you're preparing to quit or staying quit, we're with you all the way!
  • Enter a residential quit smoking treatment program such as the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center.


Next,
check out these quitting tips and techniques.