How to Say No to Cigarettes

by Dr Antonio Howell, MD

in quit smoking

The 3 Week Diet

One of the most common reasons why some smokers experience a relapse is they saw someone smoking or was offered a cigarette. So it’s logical and practical to say that it’s a good idea to prepare yourself how to say “NO” when offered a cigarette or confronted by a situation where you are tempted to smoke.

bigstock-Not-Smoking-29125379Reflect. Ask yourself, do you really want to set aside everything you have worked for the past days just for a stick of cigarette? All the hard work, the sweat, and the sacrifices you have made, all for that single moment that you yield to the temptation? Be firm and stay focus. You didn’t go that far just to waste it. Say “NO” and stand your ground. Remember why you want to quit. It will also help if you would keep your list handy.


Practice. You may find it hard to say the right words. Practice in front of a mirror or with your friends what you would say if somebody offered you a stick of cigarette. It’s a good way of teaching yourself what and how to say it without offending the person or your friend offering you a cigarette. It will also help you sound more confident. If you appear to be confident when you say “NO” people tend to respect your decision. Example lines you can practice:

  • “No thanks Joe, I no longer smoke.”
  • “Thanks for the cigarette Joe, but I already quit smoking.”

Walk away. Learn to recognize when you’re in high risk situation. If you find yourself surrounded by smokers and there is a great possibility that you’ll be tempted to smoke, excuse yourself and leave the place. If your friends start talking about smoking, try to suggest other things you can do together, like playing basketball, or going somewhere where smoking is prohibited like malls or other public places. You can also make some excuses to leave the party early like you’re expected to be home, or you have something important to do.

Avoid. “Prevention is better than cure.” List the places where you are most likely to smoke and avoid going to these places. For a while, it will also be better if you avoid your friends who smoke. At least for a few weeks when the cravings are the strongest. You can still go out with your friends but make it clear that you no longer smoke and encourage them to support you and try their best not to smoke in your presence. If they are your true friends, they’ll understand. If it cannot be avoided, walk away and leave the place, or excuse yourself and go somewhere else.


Nicotine addiction is hard to break. It takes more than just will power. If you want to succeed and stay quit, you need to learn how to avoid and say no to cigarette, and be able to tell the people that you no longer smoke, and you live by it. Be clear and focus on your goal towards a nicotine-free life.


The 3 Week Diet

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