Best Way to Help a Smoker Quit is Through Support

Best Way to Help a Smoker Quit is Through Support
Over the years, after I first naively lit up a Camel Blue Crush cigarette that grew into an addiction, I’ve heard plenty of people say, “Smoking is bad for you,” or “Cigarettes are disgusting,” or “You know, those things are going to kill you.”

Dismissively, with a lighter in one hand and a smoke in the other, I’d always walk out saying “Yeah, that’s the goal.”

Now, of course, I don’t want to die and perhaps me saying that was a little snarky and insensitive. But for the last eight years of smoking — and wasting money on cigarettes and even more money purchasing lighters because I’d always lose them somehow — I’d been getting quite frustrated with the rhetoric. Fed up with the same comments, all I could muster was with that quip, which usually left people speechless in my self-awareness in the slow death.

And the silence would stick for awhile, at least until the next time it happened again … “You know, smoking is bad for your health.”

Obviously. This isn’t the ‘50s where doctors would probably recommend a nice cool menthol cig to alleviate a sore throat. Everyone knows, including myself and other smokers, that inhaling toxins into your lungs every two hours, or whenever anxiety sets in, or while drinking coffee or beer, isn’t healthy. It’s literally all I could think of as I’d smoke.

But each time I’d attempt to discreetly head outside for a smoke, there’d always be someone saying, “Those things are going to kill you.”

I was never entirely sure why people are so inclined each time to say the same thing. Perhaps, I thought, it was a way to guilt people into not smoking. Maybe they were truly concerned for my health, a little push into the right direction toward a healthier life and quitting.

And wouldn’t that just be grand? Just imagine … Each time someone would valiantly speak up to a smoker and say the same obvious statements, the smoker would automatically be cured of their addiction. There’d be a lot less smoking-related deaths and illnesses, and quite frankly, a much better smelling and buttless world. Tobacco addiction would just be cured like a miracle with a simple: “Cigarettes are killing you.”

However, that’s not how that works. Someone saying, “Hey man, those cancer sticks are going to be the end of you,” to a smoker as they head out isn’t going to make them quit. I mean, guys, prices of smokes have gone up — up to almost $12 a pack for some brands. Smoking has been banned indoors. Smoking is banned in a majority of public outdoor spaces. Telling someone they’re going to die isn’t going to make or help them quit. It’s a fierce and illogical addiction.

Understandably, having someone in your life who is a smoker can be ridden with anxiety. Because, after all, as we all know smoking kills — 480,000 smoking-related deaths a year in the U.S. alone — and it’s hard to see your loved one puffing away their life.

As difficult as that may be though, the ultimate decision lies in the hands of the smoker, and hopefully they decide that quitting may be a good option for them before any health-related issues happen.

And remember, that on average a smoker undergoes seven attempts of quitting before kicking the addiction to the curb. The best way to help them isn’t by saying, “You’re going to die,” or “You stink of cigarettes,” or “You should really quit smoking.” We know. We already have come to that conclusion. Everyone in the world knows this.

The only thing that really gets us by, besides sheer will power, is support. Talk with smokers to fully understand how to help. Some might need to vent, others might need to be left alone for a few days; perhaps they might need a pack of Nicorette gum, and some probably just need a hug every once in a while.

Thankfully, I have someone who has been through my several attempts of quitting and has skillfully honed down on my nic fits. Never has he looked at me with doubt when my confidence was radiating in my attempt to quit, nor did he remind me that I’ve said it all before. And even when I had failed every single time, he never once said, “You know, those things are going to kill you.”

Instead, this time around as I feel confident of finally beating this addiction, my better half brings me gummy worms to satiate the nicotine cravings on his way home from a long day of work.

And folks, he’s worth sticking around for. Plus, he makes a mean steak — I want to be around longer for that, too.