3 Types of People You May Meet on Your Smokefree Journey

Monday, June 02, 2014

Along the road to being smokefree, you’re likely to come across some people who will be supportive and others who just don’t understand and don’t help. Any of these seem familiar?

Non-smokers who don’t get it
Who they are:
Sometimes people who have never smoked don’t understand that smoking isn’t just a “nasty habit.” Even if they mean well, sometimes they say things that make you feel bad about slipping up.

How to deal:
Because these non-smokers may mean well, they may be more likely to listen if you tell them what kind of support you need. Try these ways to get the conversation going:

  • Be positive: Thank them and tell them how important their support is.

  • State your feelings: Tell them how you feel when they do something specific like, “I feel like a loser when you talk about how many times I’ve slipped.”

  • Deliver the ask: Let them know exactly what would make you feel supported. For instance, you might say, “It would help me a lot if you made a big deal out of my smaller smokefree milestones.”

  • Inform them: Point them to more information here at women.smokefree.gov so they can better understand how difficult quitting can be.

Your smoking friends who don’t want to quit
Who they are:
Keeping relationships with people who aren’t ready to quit can be one of the hardest things you do on your smokefree journey, especially if smoking together was a part of your relationship. Even if they’re supportive, it can be hard to be around them.

How to deal:
Creating smokefree boundaries while maintaining your relationships with your smoking friends and family can be tough. Try this:

  • Respect them: Tell them you respect their choice not to quit (remember when you weren’t ready?) and let them know how important your relationship is.

  • Respect yourself: Talk to them about the things you are struggling with in your smokefree journey, like how hard it is to be around cigarettes and cigarette smoke right now.

  • Work together on a plan for both of you: You might decide on smokefree zones in your house or that when you’re together, they smoke outside. Plan your time together in smokefree places. Learn more ways they can help you stay smokefree even if they smoke.

Current smokers who aren’t on your side.
Who they are:
People who aren’t ready to quit and don’t want you to quit either. They smoke around you and leave their cigarettes out, even when you ask them not to. They may even tell you that they don’t think you can quit!

How to deal:
This can be discouraging and frustrating, especially if it’s someone you want to or have to keep a relationship with. You may need a break from this person, but that isn't always possible. If you can’t give yourself some distance, rely on your smokefree tools:

  • Remember why you’re quitting.

  • Plan to spend time with this person in smokefree places or escape to smokefree zones (malls, movie theaters, many restaurants) by yourself.

  • Lean on the people who are supporting you when the going gets tough. Connect with the community of Women Who Quit.

Together
we are strong enough to quit


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From those of us at Smokefree Women…Congratulations! You are taking the first step towards a healthier, new lifestyle.

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Our Tools

The Smokefree Women Web site includes a variety of interactive tools to help you quit smoking.