What you can do to help someone quit smoking

Posted by DrMendelsohn on 14 February, 2015

People often ask how they can make some quit. Unfortunately, this is rarely possible as a smoker will only quit when he or she is ready. The best thing you can do is to be there to offer support.


It is generally best not to give advice. Instead, ask them how you can help or support them. Don’t nag, judge, or say something like, “You better quit or else…” Has nagging ever made you want to do anything? Instead, tell them you’re there to help if they need you.

For someone trying to quit

  • Understand that It’s hard to give that up. Smoking is a powerful addiction. a smoker’s habit may feel like an old friend that’s always been there when times were tough.
  • Don’t doubt that they can quit. Your faith in them reminds them they can do it.
  • Make your home smoke-free, meaning that no one can smoke in any part of the house.
  • Help the quitter get what they need, such as hard sweets to suck on, straws to chew on, and fresh veggies cut up and kept in the refrigerator.
  • Remove all lighters and ash trays from your home. Remove anything that reminds them of smoking. 
  • Celebrate along the way. Quitting smoking is a BIG DEAL! When the person has quit for 1 week, 1 month, etc, plan something special or fun.
  • Don’t take the quitter’s grumpiness personally during their nicotine withdrawal. Tell them that you understand the symptoms are real and remind them that they won’t last forever. The symptoms usually get better in about 2 weeks.

If the smoker ‘slips’

  • Don’t assume that they will start back smoking like before. A “slip” (taking a puff or smoking a cigarette or two) is pretty common when a person is quitting.
  • Remind the quitter how long they went without a cigarette before the slip.
  • Help the quitter remember all the reasons they wanted to quit, and help them forget about the slip as soon as possible.
  • Continue to offer support and encouragement. Remind them they’re still a “quitter” – NOT a smoker.
  • Don’t scold, tease, nag, blame, or make the quitter feel guilty. Be sure the quitter knows that you care about them whether or not they smoke.

If YOU are a smoker

  • Smoke outside and always away from the quitter.
  • Keep your cigarettes, lighters, ashtrays and matches out of sight. They might be triggers for your loved one to smoke.
  • Don’t ever offer the quitter a smoke or any other form of tobacco, even as a joke!
  • Join your loved one in their effort to quit. It’s better for your health and might be easier to do with someone else who is trying to quit, too.



Helping a Smoker Quit: Do's and Dont's. American Cancer Society

How to Help Someone Quit Smoking. California Smokers' Helpline


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