Pictures emerged earlier this week showing Wilshere smoking in a Las Vegas swimming pool with friends, leading to reports that he could be reprimanded by Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.
And Cole, who admits to having smoked earlier in his career, believes the 22-year-old has a responsibility to set an example and should stamp out the habit.
“Everyone talks about footballers having to be professional and be an example, but we don’t know if the smoking affects him,” he is quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.
“Of course I am not condoning smoking. We don’t want smoking. I have smoked before, I have stopped.
“It didn’t really affect me the way I run but of course it’s not a good thing to do in public. But he is a young lad and he will learn.”
Roma defender Cole insists it is not his place to give Wilshere direct advice, but has urged the midfielder to take steps to “sort out” the habit.
“I don’t think it is up to me to tell anyone what to do,” he added.
“I am not going to give him advice on how to behave. It is down to him to sort out.”