I submit the following tips on how to help the smoker in your life quit smoking.
1. In a short (five or ten minutes), poignant conversation, tell the smoker you care about him and you would do anything he asks to help him quit. This is not an intervention. You are telling him how smoking is impacting you and other people (even pets) in the smoker’s life. Be specific: “Our son smart enough now to know the dangers of smoking and he’s scared you are going to die.” “I don’t want to see you wither away from cancer.”
3. Renegotiate your terms. You are doing something hard - you are going to stop nagging. You now have the power to change the arrangement the two of you had. If the smoker smoked in the house, send him outside. If he smoked in the car, ask him to stop. If he’s already smoking outside, you can still change the terms to “never smoke where I can see you or smell you.” The operative word here is “negotiate.” If the smoker says no to your first offer, ask for something else.
4. If you are paying for the cigarettes, on any level, STOP. If your spouse or child is depending on you for an allowance or other funds, tell him you will not fund the smoking habit. Do the math with smoker – “Cigarettes cost $7 a pack and you are smoking a pack a day. That’s $50 a week.” Deduct the amount of the cigarettes from the allowance. If you do not give him an allowance, but he lives rent free, start charging rent, at least the amount of the cigarettes.
5. Do not use children to plead your case or nag for you. You may scare the child or scare her more than she already is. However, if the child has come to you asking, “Why doesn’t daddy quit smoking?” or “I’m afraid Grandpa is going to die because he smokes,” you may refer the child to the smoker to answer the question. “I don’t know the answer, but you can tell Grandpa how you feel about this.”
6. Do not offer to pay for the patches, acupuncture or hypnosis sessions because smokers may say to himself, “If it doesn’t work, it’s not costing me anything.” Smoking costs money and a smoker needs a financial incentive to quit. You can offer to reimburse the cost of the patches or sessions after he has been smoke-free for six months or a year.
7. Keep your promise not to nag.