PBS Kids GO! It's My Life
Smoking: Help Someone To Quit

Are you one of the many kids who are worried about a loved one who smokes?

First of all, smoking is more than just a habit: it's an addiction, which means it's very hard to quit. It's likely that your friend or family member wants very much to stop smoking, but doesn't know how to do it.

The first thing to do is let this person know how important it is to you that they try to quit. Do your best not to nag or bring it up in a way that will make him or her totally close the discussion. Instead, you may want to say something like: "I love you. I want you to live a long and healthy life." Explain how their smoking makes you feel -- both mentally and physically -- and try to be gentle, honest, and loving.

If someone isn't ready to quit just yet, you might make a request about where and when this person smokes. For instance, you can make a rule that he or she never lights up when you're around, or declare some rooms "off-limits." These new limits might make it easier for someone to quit in the near future.

This person will need lots of support and resources -- things to do and organizations that can help him or her stay smoke-free. Here are some things you can do to help them out:

  • Offer to help track down programs in your area that help smokers kick the habit. You can start by calling:

    • American Lung Association, (800) LUNG-USA
    • American Cancer Society, (800) ACS-2345

  • Ask your friend or family member to sit with you at the computer and check out a "quit smoking" Web site that offers online community support, like www.quitsmoking.com.

  • Offer to take a walk or do another type of exercise with your relative or friend whenever he or she has the urge to smoke.

  • There are many products available for smokers who want to quit, including a Nicotine patch, Nicotine gum and other aids. Ask your friend or relative to get a doctor's recommendation.

You can't force someone to quit smoking. Be supportive and honest about your concerns, and the rest is up to them.

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