How to tell a Loved One to Stop Smoking

      18 Comments on How to tell a Loved One to Stop Smoking

stop150.gifThe first time I puffed a cigarette was when I was 18 years old in utter defiance of an ex-boyfriend who refused to leave me alone. Thinking he’d get turned off with my smoking, I blew smoke into his face. Unfortunately, that didn’t work. He continued to pursue me relentlessly until I met my husband. (having another boyfriend didn’t stop him but that’s another story) The sad thing was I got hooked into cigarettes till my mid-thirties. Until one day….an 8 year old Lauren wrapped her arms around me and begged me “Mom, smoking is bad. I learned in Science class that you could die of lung cancer. I don’t want you to die. I love you mom

The heart rending plea tugged at my heart. Of course I didn’t want to die. How could I leave my children alone? I looked into Lauren’s imploring eyes “Yes, dear. I will stop smoking“. I kissed her cheeks. I couldn’t stop smoking right away but the thought did occur that I should give this vice up. And I did . It wasn’t hard. In fact, I felt triumphant that I conquered the smoking habit.

Little did I know that 8 years later, a reversal of roles would occur.

A text message arrived on my cellphone “Don’t blog about you and me smoking“. Obviously the text message wasn’t meant for me. I was totally appalled. How could she be smoking!! Livid with anger, I rang her cellphone and rattled of a litany of lectures on the evils of smoking. “STOP SMOKING OR ELSE….blah blah yadda blah” I threatened. My anger only made matters worse, I think. I was in a state of denial that she could easily stop her smoking. I often smelled cigarettes at home but she quickly denied it was her. I believed her until I caught her smoking again.

Sending her to the USA for a two month vacation in 2005 seemed like a good idea for her to stop smoking. I told my sister to strictly follow the “No smoking” rule in her household. Maybe she quit smoking during her two month stay but she returned to smoking once again. I became worried that her asthma would recurr once again. I recalled our fateful conversation when she appealed to me. Maybe I could use the same technique she did on me.

Last year, I sat down with her and said “Isn’t it funny that it’s my turn to beg you and stop this smoking habit?” I implored upon her to stop while her asthma was still dormant. I hugged her and told her repeatedly that I loved her and didn’t want her to get sick. She could only promise that she will stop soon but didn’t know when. Having been there, I know the thought of quitting is a seed that needs to be planted in the mind. I will be patient.

Then a few days ago, I read her Goodbye Cigarettes entry. I was so happy for her. She warned me “I am grouchy when I don’t have my nicotine fix“. But I added “You’ll feel triumphant that you conquered the habit and that makes up for the grouchy feelings

I pray Lauren continues to stop smoking. She texted her dad yesterday and proudly announced that it’s been 6 days since she stopped smoking. My husband can only give her moral support.

I learned a lot from my experience with Lauren. Our children need to be taught how to help themselves. They need our love and guidance. They need consistent enforcement of boundaries, once we’ve established limits. They need a supportive nurturing environment in which to grow. They need to help learning values. But as parents, we are not responsible for controlling our children. I grew up with very controlling parents so I didn’t know any better.

Controlling doesn’t work. Discipline and nurturing do if combined. I let my children have their own process of living and hold them accountable at an age-appropriate level.

Noemi Lardizabal-Dado (1388 Posts)

You may contact Noemi (noemidado @ for speaking and consultancy services in the following areas: Parenting in the Digital Age (includes pro-active parenting on cyber-bullying and bullying) ; Social Business ; Reinventing One’s Life; and social media engagement. Our parenting workshop is called "Prep to Prime (P2P): Parenting in the Digital Age (An Un­Workshop)" P2P Un­Workshops are conducted by two golden women in their prime, Noemi and Jane, who have a century’s worth of experience between them. They are both accomplished professionals who chose to become homemakers. This 180­degree turn also put them on a different life course which includes blogging, social media engagement and citizen advocacy. They call their un­workshops Prep to Prime or P2P, for short, to emphasize the breadth of their parenting experience. They tackle different aspects and issues of parenting ­­ from managing pregnancies, prepping for the school years of children, dealing with househelp, managing the household budget, to maximizing one’s prime life and staying healthy through the senior years.

  • well, i do hope that she will have the strength to quit.

  • i stumbled upon your site from project manila. really, you deserve the webby award. i will come back and read you more. by the way, I added you in my blogroll.

  • @estan- i do hope so

    @estan- thanks for dropping by. and for the link

  • oh my gosh! i dread the day when i would be faced with the same situation. as it is, i have not had any difficult situation yet with my 4 sons snd 3 daughters (knock on wood). thanks for sharing, Noemi. but i remember one of my daughters was so bad when she was 10 years old, soooo bad that i could be ashamed of her. but she’s my daughter, and i should not lose hope. until now, i still do not know how she has reformed to a nice lady (though we still quarrel over some things, like shopping, dieting. etc.). the only thing i could think of that changed her was our prayers.

  • It’s good that you were able to stop smoking, if not just for your children but also for your own sake. And let’s hope that Lauren also succeed in hers. I’ve heard, though, that for some people, it’s really hard to kick that habit.

  • @sexy mom- it isnt all that bad. after all i used to smoke. I can’t be holier than thou attitude. good for you you havent difficult situations with your children. My kids are quite unique having had traumatic experience in their teens. Still they are resilient and great kids. Just because my daughter smoke doesnt mean it’s the end of the world.

    @niceheart- well that is past and it’s done . so it’s all water under the bridge 🙂

  • I am so happy that she’s quitting! I’ve been so worried about her when I noticed she started smoking. You’re a great mother and I’m happy to see all you do for your girls. 🙂

  • lemon

    hi noemi,

    I felt like cheering when I read that entry of Lauren and her intention to quit smoking. If only I could get through to my 2 younger sisters to follow suit, bec. I’m so worried about what will happen to their kids should they get sick.
    When I was younger, I saw what lung cancer did to a close friend of mine before he passed away. Maybe I should’ve taken his picture then and shown it to my sisters and friends who just don’t quit.

  • @Daynah- i hope Lauren continues on. I try to be a good mother but all we can do is give guidance.

    @lemon- just keep telling your sisters to think about quiting smoking one day. They might get your message one day.

  • Hi, Noems!

    Could you let my darling niece, Lauren, know that if she wants any input on how I successfully stopped smoking after 24 years (my first non-smoking day was on March 21, 2001), then she can ask me.

    Take care,


  • I can relate to your post. I am not a smoker but I was an alcoholic and a sexaholic. I am still on the road to recovery thru the 12-step program and still struggling to get rid of my addictions. It takes guts and willpower to remove any addiction. In my case, I surrender everything to God. Only God can change me now.

    I am also worried about my eldest son who is in his early teens now. I guess there is no point controlling. Word of advice, lengthy talks will do wonders. I also want to believe that it is not yet too late for me now. I can still be a good role model to my kids as long as I can continue my recovery. As they say, recovery is always a work in progress.

  • @Addict- always a work in progress. Keep it up. It’s never too late for you to help your eldest son. Maybe being a good role model is what it takes.

  • I love it when a plan comes together. Well done and congrats. Hope you both live long and healthy

  • Wow. After a year I visited this blog again and read again my gloomy comment. 2007 was such a bad year for me. Been charged with 2 criminal cases and I am still defending myself (with my lawyer) in court. Got apprehended by the police and my car impounded because of fake LTO registration. My wife had a miscarriage last year and we were robbed by the ob-gyne by charging us 40k for a one-night stay in a charity ward, to think I had no job at that time. Chased by various banks for unpaid loans. Suffered a tragic loss of a closed family relative before the year ended last year. My wife and I separated for 2 months but went back again later. In short, 2007 was the most forgettable year for me.

    But despite that 2008 is looking good. Got myself full-time online work where I earned $ and more than my usual monthly pay when I was an executive working in Makati. My relationships with my family (wife, son and others) are improving by the day. I’ve been sober for a year now. Thru prayers, everything turned around this year. 2008 is going to be a great year. Just be sober and everything will fall into place.

  • @I addict- it’s good you came back and saw your progress. Like they say in recovery programs, one step at a time. Keep it up.

  • Joey

    Hey um can i have advice theres this girl i like alot and i care about her so much but she smokes and usually ide be fine with that but it turns out that i feel something telling me to make her stop my concious doenst want her to get hurt now or in the future whether or not we still know eatch other how can i tell her to quit without her thinking im trying to control her or im “oblivious to the reasons she smokes”

  • You did well to step back from the instinctive parental urge to discipline (through love) a teenager for something that’s worrying you. Appealing to her though love, especially as you had previously quit at her request, was a great move.

    In order to keep her off cigarettes you now need to ensure the consequences of smoking heavily outweigh the shallow benefits of impressing her peer group. The above link gives some pretty shocking facts regarding women and smoking. Perhaps you should read it first and then at your discretion pass the information onto your daughter.

  • Hi Noemi
    You handled this well.
    The urge to smoke is embedded deep in a persons subconcious mind and it is a fact that when our concious mind and our subconcious minds don’t agree then the subconcious then the subconcious will usually win.
    There is a lot to help smokers over this problem in our free report ’10 biggest mistakes smokers make when trying to quit on
    With hope for your health wealth and happiness – Tony