Earlier this week the drugstore chain
CVS announced that in addition to ending the sale of cigarettes and other
tobacco products it was launching a smoking-cessation campaign to include
assessment of a smoker's “readiness to quit,” medication support to help curb
the desire to use tobacco and coaching to help people stay motivated and avoid
that should help would-be non-smokers, says John Spangler, M.D., a professor of
family medicine at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and a recognized expert
on tobacco use and smoking cessation.
smoking is difficult, and for some people it is extremely difficult,” Spangler
said. “Nicotine replacements like a patch or gum and other medications can
double or triple the chances of successfully quitting, and coaching and
counseling are definitely useful, too.”
the coaches and counselors needn’t be professionals. Spangler says family
members, loved ones and friends can be major contributors to smoking-cessation
efforts – if they take a supportive approach.
who are trying to quit need a cheerleader, not a drill sergeant,” he said.
“Patience, not pestering, is the best way to help someone close to you kick the
offers the following tips for people trying to offer smoking-cessation support
to a family member, loved one or friend:
Ask the smoker why he or she wants to quit. (The more they’re the ones talking
about quitting, the more successful they’ll be.)
Have the smoker set a specific quit date and help them stick to it.
Urge the smoker to throw away all cigarettes, ash trays, lighters and anything
else closely tied to smoking.
Help the smoker alter the routines and avoid the places they associate with
smoking. Suggest alternatives that will help them keep their mind off their
Take advantage of resources such as the website smokefree.gov and the
smoking-cessation hotline 1-800-QUITNOW.
Above all, don’t nag, pester, scold or fuss at the person who is trying to
“Somebody who’s trying to give up smoking is likely to be irritable,
have problems concentrating and be short-tempered,” Spangler said. “They’re in
no mood to hear nagging. Praise and encouragement are the most important ways
you can help someone close to you quit tobacco.”