If you know someone who smokes and you’ve tried to get them to quit, maybe you’ve used the wrong approach. According to the health experts at MSN, there are five things not to say to someone who’s trying to kick the habit:
- “You’re going to get lung cancer.” Of course smoking causes cancer, emphysema and a bunch of other health problems, but smokers have heard these arguments so many times, they’ll just tune you out.
- Another thing not to say to someone who smokes: “If you loved me, you’d quit.” If you’re trying to guilt a smoker into quitting, it won’t work. Why? Because if the smoker believed they could quit, they would. Trying to “guilt” them only makes them feel bad about themselves and angry at you. Most smokers are ashamed of their dependence, deep down. So guilting them doesn’t work because they already feel it. Instead take the opposite approach. Help the smoker envision how proud they’d feel if they quit. A better spin would be: “You’re going to be a wonderful example for the kids when you quit.”
- Here’s another thing not to say to a smoker: “Smoking is disgusting. I don’t know why you don’t quit!” Making a smoker feel bad about smoking is counterproductive. Why? Because they already know it’s bad. You’ll only drive a wedge between you, when the message you really want to send is: “I’m on your side.” So, instead of a negative comment, say something positive - or at least neutral - like this: “How can I support you in getting healthier?”
- You also won’t reach a smoker if you criticize a health problem they might have – like pointing out how quickly they’re out of breath! A leading addiction expert says instead, take a sneakier approach. Together with your smoking partner, take ballroom dance lessons or play a sport – any activity that requires healthy lungs. Make getting healthy a joint project, and let your smoker friend figure out that smoking is holding them back.