How to Convince a Friend to Stop Smoking

Seeing a loved one struggle with smoking can be challenging. If you’re looking to convince a friend to stop smoking, this guide provides compassionate and practical advice to start the conversation.

Ask if they want to quit.

Most smokers want to quit but before you try convincing your friend to stop smoking be sure they are up for the challenge. Remember it’s their life not yours. They will only be successful in quitting if it is truly a change they want to make.

What is keeping them from quitting?

Help your friend realize the obstacles standing in the way of living a smoke-free life. What can you do to help them get over those obstacles? Provide them with new activities to help them break patterns that allow them to smoke.

Give them reasons to quit.

If your friend is on the fence about quitting, try giving them reasons that quitting is the best decision. Do some quick math that makes them realize how much money they would save in a week, a month or a year of not smoking. Remind them of the health benefits of quitting. Explain to them how great it will feel once they can smell and taste again.

Be supportive.

Don’t be judgmental of the way your friend decides to stop smoking. Don’t offer advice; instead let them know you are there to listen. Offer to be a part of their support system by asking how often you should check in with them to see how they’re doing. If your friend is struggling, be there to divert their mind elsewhere. Go on a walk with them or rattle off some reasons to remind them why they are quitting. Step in and do some chores for them to lighten their stress load. And remember to let them know over and over that you have faith in them.

8 Step Action Plan to Quit Smoking …

.. even if you’ve tried everything and failed miserably in the past!

Let them know that relapsing is normal.

Quitting smoking is not easy and most smokers that try to quit end up relapsing at some point. If this has happened to your friend let them know you haven’t given up on them. Provide some ideas of different ways to quit that they haven’t tried before. Help them get back to a mindset that motivates them to try quitting once more. The American Cancer Society website provides an example of how to approach this situation:

Do say, “It’s normal to not succeed the first few times you try to quit. Most people understand this, and know that they have to try to quit again. You didn’t smoke for (length of time) this time. Now you know you can do that much. You can get even further next time.”