Hard numbers and reasons for not smoking can go in one ear and out the other for most smokers. But smoking is public enemy No. 1 to many people, so smokers aren't exactly feeling the love these days. Cigarettes are objects of scorn and often this negativity carries over to real contempt for the people who smoke them. As a friend or family member, however, keeping perspective on the problem itself is important: It's not you against your loved one; it's you and your loved one against the smoking addiction.
Quitting smoking without medicines or nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) like the patch or gum leads to abysmal success rates of just 5 to 7 percent for those in the United States who try to quit [source: American Cancer Society]. Chances increase to 25 to 33 percent smoke-free after six months with the help of medicines and may even be greater with combination therapies [source: American Cancer Society]. The good news is that there are an estimated 48 million people in the U.S. who are former smokers, proving that quitting is possible [source: American Lung Association]. What data cannot measure is the effect of emotional support and encouragement in the life of the smoker who tries to quit.
Whether encouraging a smoker to quit by stepping down or going cold turkey, or by using Web site support groups or in-person counseling, knowing your loved one might be as important as knowing what options are out there for kicking the habit. Pills, sprays, gums and e-cigarettes are just some of the options for beginning to fight the physical addiction, but beating the emotional and habitual addiction requires different tools and approaches.
Encouragement is part persuasion and part inspiration, and providing both without taking control from the hands of the smoker is a true labor of love. How can you encourage someone to be a quitter without having them quit on you? Read on for some ideas.