The England youngster landed himself in hot water on Monday after he was pictured with a cigarette for the second time in a nine-month period.
Cole, who himself has been snapped smoking on a number of occasions, does not condone the habit but suggests that the incident was blown out of proportion.
"Everyone talks about footballers having to be professional and be an example but we don't know if the smoking affects [Wilshere]," the former Arsenal and Chelsea defender told reporters.
"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."
Wilshere first came in for criticism after being caught smoking back in October, when he was pictured with a cigarette outside a nightclub.