Enable JavaScript to visit this website.
5 “W” Questions Supporters Can Ask Their Quitters
By the Quitter's Circle Staff
October 24, 2017

5 “W” Questions Supporters Can Ask Their Quitters

If someone in your life is trying to quit smoking and has asked you to be on their support team, it’s possible that you’re feeling very honored – and nervous. You may have many questions on your mind, especially if you’ve never supported someone through the quitting process.

It can help if you start off with some basic questions – the who, what, when, where, why (and maybe even the how) – to be the best supporter they need for their unique quit. Asking these type of questions is a good thing: it shows that you’ve committed to helping them quit smoking. But it’s also good to keep in mind that they may be feeling very nervous themselves, so make sure not to bombard them. Also note that they may not be ready to share the answer to everything. Respect their boundaries and recognize if they need some space.

Ask to get dinner together, or invite them over for a cup of tea. Then, you may be able to have an open conversation so you can learn about what they’ll need from you, and can see how dedicated of a supporter you want to be. Read on to learn about some of the questions you can ask your quitter to prepare to be on their support squad.

Who – Ask your quitter who they’ve enlisted as part of their quit team. Anyone can be a supporter – from family members to coworkers to friends. Knowing who else they’ve got in their circle may help you identify your place on their team and target your support. Ask them what role they see for you. Are you there for a break during a stressful day at work, or to help shop for healthy snacks? With many people on their team, you can each chip in for awesome milestone rewards for your quitter!

What – Ask your quitter to educate you about the basics: What does the addiction to cigarettes feel like for them and what does their plan for quitting include? If they need a refresher themselves, Quitter’s Circle has several articles around tobacco addiction, ways to quit smoking, and how to continue living a smokefree life. Armed with information, you can help them follow their Quit Plan and stay on track.

When/Where – These two questions go hand-in-hand because they highlight your quitter’s smoking routines. Ask: “When and where do you find yourself smoking most often?” They may smoke in the morning – after waking up, with breakfast or coffee, or while in the car on the way to work. Or, they may take a smoke break at a certain time every day. Learning about these routines may help you to know when to check in, or help you steer them to alternatives. Another (fun) “where and when” question to ask: “Where would you like to go as a reward when you’re two months smokefree?”

Why – It’s also important to know why they smoke and why they are quitting. Do they smoke when they are stressed or bored, or at social gatherings? By recognizing these triggers, you can work together to pinpoint how to get through these situations without smoking. And if you know why they’re quitting smoking – to improve their health, to provide a smokefree space for their pet, to save money for vacation or to be more active with their grandchildren – you can remind them about these reasons during those tough times.

Bonus: How – Though “how” isn’t a “w” word, it can be just as important as the 5 W’s. Even once you’ve got your answers to these questions, don’t stop inquiring. Asking “How can I help?” throughout the quit journey and sticking by your quitter’s side shows that you’re there for them from beginning to end.

And of course, once you’ve asked these questions – don’t forget to listen to the answers, then use them to put your best supporter foot forward!

What questions do you ask your quitter? Let us know on our Quitter’s Circle Facebook community page! 


See additional quit smoking resources from our partner American Lung Association.