For non-smoking friends or family of smokers
Want to lower the resistance you often get when telling your loved ones to stop smoking? Instead, try these three questions in a non-threatening and non-judgmental voice:
• When is the last time you tried to quit smoking?
• What are things that I currently do or say that make it harder for you to quit?
• Is there anything I can do to help you when you are trying to quit?
Don’t think that your attempts to help people quit smoking don’t matter. They just might not be at a point where they are ready for their next quit attempt. Smoking is one of the hardest addictions to overcome.
Remember, encouragement is free and connects you to those you care about on a deeper level
In 2014, the Surgeon General Report found:
• 90% of adult smokers first smoked by the age of 18
• 98% of adult smokers first smoked by the age of 26
• About half of high school seniors (12th grade) reported they had tried to quit at least once in the past year
For healthcare professionals
You can help some patients permanently quit smoking cigarettes. Don’t get discouraged or take “failure” personally.
Instead, say a simple phrase and deliver it in a nonjudgmental and caring manner. “You know, the best thing you can do for your health is to stop smoking.”
It may surprise you that this simple phrase may work. Dental hygienists or people who clean the patient’s hospital room who say this without passing judgment or inducing shame.
Key point: Giving up smoking is extremely difficult for most people and is often associated with shame because of past failure, which may be expressed as anger when others try to help. Don’t give up! Sometimes the only thing left is to say, “The best thing you can do for your health is to stop smoking” and “I’m here to help you when you’re ready to try again.”