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Reaching Out to a Friend Who Smokes

No matter whether you're an ex-smoker, a person who's never smoked or a current smoker, you can still help your friend who's trying to quit.

What if You're a Former Smoker?

Quitting smoking is different for everyone, but because you went through it yourself, you might be a special help to your friend, but remember everyone is different. What worked for you might not work for them. Ask your friend how he or she is feeling and what you can do to help.

Mention all the good things you have felt since quitting. The short-term benefits are easier to understand—fresher breath, no more smelly clothes, or stained teeth or fingers, and lots more energy and sex appeal. Many former smokers talk about getting control of their lives when they quit.

Smoking is an addiction, and it's hard for most folks to quit. Remind your friend that almost 53 million Americans have quit smoking and that he or she can do it too.

What If You Are Still Smoking?

Help your friend, and yourself, by not smoking around him or her. Think up new nonsmoking activities to replace those where you smoked together.

The best gift you could give your friend and yourself is for you to quit smoking now. Your friend is more likely to stay off cigarettes if you are not smoking. If you decide to quit, be sure you and your friend ask others for support as well.

What If You Have Never Smoked?

If you've never smoked, listen to your friend and encourage him or her to express their feelings and be sympathetic. You might not know exactly what your friend is going through, but you can still be a good listener and help them get through this tough time.

    Reviewed and approved by the American Lung Association Scientific and Medical Editorial Review Panel. Last reviewed March 7, 2019.

    Page Last Updated: April 4, 2019

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