You might want your boyfriend to stop smoking because you're fed up with him smelling like the bottom of an ashtray, or perhaps you want him to quit because you're concerned about his health. It's almost impossible to make people do something they don't want to do. So until your boyfriend agrees to give up his cigarettes, you'll need to be patient and shower him with loving kindness. Once he makes the decision to quit smoking, there are many ways you can help ensure his success.
Do your research and arm yourself with the facts about secondhand smoke. Even if he doesn't care about his health, you might get his attention by showing him the risks he's taking with yours.
Don't allow this to become a contentious issue between you two. You won't be persuasive if he perceives your conversations as nagging. Voice your concerns and show you are saddened by his addiction, but try not to express anger.
Suggest he begin by reducing the amount he smokes if he's not ready to stop completely.
Help your boyfriend list his reasons for why he enjoys smoking as well as the benefits of quitting. This can help him clarify his motivations and help him decide to quit.
Let him know that even if he's failed in his previous attempts to quit, he can be successful this time. It often takes smokers a few tries before they succeed. Don't let him give up on himself.
Help him plan in advance for quitting day. Suggest he select a significant date -- it could be his or your birthday -- and prepare for it. He can finish his last pack of cigarettes and be ready with healthy alternatives to take his mind off smoking. Help him stock up on nutritious snacks, or join a gym with him so you can both focus on developing a healthier lifestyle.
Encourage him to join a support group that helps ex-smokers. Explore online groups that you can suggest for him.
Suggest he keep a diary to track when his cravings for a cigarette occur and help increase his awareness of any patterns so he can prepare for them.
Help him break the habits he has associated with smoking. Suggest going out to places where smoking is forbidden such as a movie theater. Spend more time with friends who are nonsmokers.
Keep encouraging him, even if he fails. Help him figure out why he failed and help him learn from it. Urge him to try again and let him know you believe he can succeed.
Don't forget to ask him how he would like you to help. People react in different ways to stressful situations, so don't assume that you hold all the answers that best serve his needs.
Help keep up his morale with praise and gifts. Consider making a personalized calender to help him mark off the number of days he remains smoke-free. Plan little rewards for each milestone.
Avoid criticism. The American Cancer Society recommends you don't judge, lecture or chastise, which can make smokers feel bad about themselves. Your boyfriend then could decide he needs a cigarette to make him feel better.
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- The Lung Association: Smoking and Tobacco -- Quitting Smoking
- HelpGuide.org: How to Quit Smoking
- The Lung Association: HelpIng Someone Quit
- Australian Government: Quit: Help Someone Else Quit
- Reader's Digest: 25 Ways to Stop Smoking Cigarettes
- American Cancer Society: Helping a Smoker Quit -- Do’s and Don’ts
Freddie Silver started writing newsletters for the Toronto District School Board in 1997. Her areas of expertise include staff management and professional development. She holds a master's degree in psychology from the University of Toronto and is currently pursuing her PhD at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, focusing on emotions and professional relationships.