How to Help a Loved One Quit Smoking

If someone you know is trying to quit, they’ll need all the help they can get from friends, family, and work colleagues. If you’re willing, there’s actually a lot you can do to help them.

You can use these simple strategies to help someone you know quit smoking.

Get the Facts

Understanding more about why quitting is important to your loved one, and giving the right advice can be extremely helpful. You can start with this website – there’s a lot of info to help you get to grips with all the quitting issues.

Listen to Them

It may sound obvious, but listening is key when you’re supporting someone who’s quitting. If you can be a sympathetic ear to their worries, cravings, and stresses, you’ll better understand their situation, but also, they’ll feel better for sharing, and will be less likely to be tempted.

Talk Openly

A good place to begin is to respond positively when a smoker tells you that they want to stop. Helpful responses could include telling them you’re proud, that you believe in them, and most importantly, that you’ll be there for them.

It’s important that this type of support isn’t limited to your first conversation. Instead, try to keep it up throughout your friend or loved-one’s quit journey. By asking non-judgmental questions, you’ll have an understanding of what they’re going through, and what you can do to help. It’s also important to regularly check-in and ask the quitter how they’re doing – not just whether they’ve managed to stay on track.

Finally, although it might be tempting, offering lectures and judgmental comments won’t help. Plus, if a quitter suspects that you’re being judgmental, they might not come to you for support when they really need it.

Distract Them

Simply not thinking about smoking can be one of the most useful strategies for quitters. By taking their mind off their cravings, you’ll be doing them a real favour. Something as simple as a cup of tea, an interesting magazine article, or walking the dog could help them get past a craving.

Change Activities and Settings

If you know your friend is likely to crave a cigarette at the pub, then suggest a non-smoking environment instead. Try to suggest alternatives to activities they previously associated with smoking.

Don’t Always Talk About Quitting Smoking

Although it’s tempting to go on and on about quitting smoking, it may be counterproductive. The quitter feels harassed and seeks comfort in a cigarette. Constantly talking about smoking is an ever-present reminder for quitters and could drive them crazy. Instead, try to remain positive and encouraging.

Be Positive

It’s normal for quitters to experience slips when quitting smoking – and people may try several times before they quit for good.

This is why it’s important to be patient and encouraging with your partner or loved-one when they’re attempting to stop. If they do slip, remind them that it’s a learning experience, and that most quitters may need several attempts before stopping for good.

In much the same vein, you should celebrate each success, no matter how big or small. Just going a matter of hours without a cigarette can be an achievement deserving of recognition. The key is to stay upbeat, particularly in the moments when the quitter is experiencing frustration and exhaustion.

Reward Them

Positive encouragement can be the key to successfully quitting smoking. Perhaps set out a series of goals with associated rewards that increase as each goal is achieved. One week of being smoke-free gets them a trip to the movies and one month - a massage. At one year, they’ll get a meal in a 5-star restaurant.

Encourage Healthy Choices

Try to encourage quitters to get out and about so they can start enjoying their new-found energy levels. By adopting a healthier lifestyle, they’re likely to feel better about themselves and less likely to start smoking again.

Failure is Not an Option

Don’t be too hard on someone who’s quit smoking if he or she slips up and has a cigarette. Instead of getting cross and making him or her feel bad (because they probably already do), offer support and encouragement for getting back on track.