What are these cues? According to John Hughes, M.D., a UVM professor of psychiatry who has been studying how smokers quit for the last 30 years, prompts can range from simply feeling embarrassed to direct requests from others – spouses, friends, children – to quit.
• Diplomacy is important. Refrain from using terms like “ought to,” “should” or “need to” and instead use statements that express concern, like “I am worried about your smoking,” or less threatening statements, such as “Have you thought about quitting?”
• Mention new treatments as an icebreaker. For example, say “I heard about this new app that you can use to stop smoking – have you seen it?” and be prepared to mention the local telephone help line (802Quits in Vermont) and provide contact information for free phone counseling and medication sources.
• Remember that more is not necessarily better. A single comment is probably as effective as a 30-minute discussion.
• Repetition is usually necessary. It’s o.k. to say “I know I asked about your stopping smoking several months ago – has anything come of that?” Most of the time, it will take several diplomatic comments from friends and/or loved ones to have an effect.