Help Your Loved One Quit Smoking
Quitting smoking is one of the hardest challenges many smokers will face. However, quitters who feel supported are more likely to quit for good. That’s why it’s so important for friends, family members and coworkers to get involved and encourage their loved one who’s trying to quit smoking.
If your friend is trying to quit smoking, you have an important part to play in supporting their attempt:
- If your friend hasn’t quit yet, ask when they plan to. Studies show smokers are more successful in quit attempts if they set a quit date and let others know.
- Celebrate their wins – an hour, day or week without smoking is a big accomplishment. Let your friend know you’re proud of them as they pass these milestones.
- Listen instead of lecture. Most adults don’t respond well to lectures, and engaging in a genuine conversation can be much more effective. Ask questions about their cravings, why they might want to quit and how you can make quitting easier, and then listen without inserting your own comments.
- Offer distractions. Quitting smoking is the hardest when the quitter has nothing to think about but their cravings. Come up with smoke-free activities that you can do together, like going to a movie, playing a game or going on a walk.
When your family member is quitting smoking, your support can be one of the most important advantages:
- Keep cigarettes out of the house. If you or someone else in the household is still smoking, try to stop smoking at home to reduce the temptation your quitter may feel.
- Let them know you’re there for them. Quitting smoking is hard, but with family support, it’s a lot easier. Make it clear to your family member that you’re there to help their quit attempt succeed.
- Know what makes your family member crave a cigarette and reduce those triggers. Maybe he always needs a cigarette when he drinks beer or she uses cigarettes for stress relief when the kids argue – whatever the trigger is, try to keep them from happening as frequently.
- Don’t belittle your loved one if they slip up. Criticizing your quitter for smoking a cigarette won’t help the problem. Instead, talk about what they learned from the slip or what’s triggering cravings. One cigarette doesn’t have to be the reason why their quit attempt fails.
- Try not to take their mood personally. Nicotine withdrawal can make a person moody and irritable. Know that it’s the nicotine withdrawal and not how they feel about you, and love your irritable quitter as best as you can.
Coworkers have a vital role to play in helping quitters, too. Workplaces can take a few steps to make quitting easier:
- Help your coworker find new ways to reduce stress that don’t involve cigarettes. Having a cup of tea in the break room can be an excellent way to socialize with coworkers and feel a little less stressed.
- Turn smoke breaks into something more healthy. Instead of smoking, go on a short walk with your coworker who’s trying to quit smoking. The walk can help him or her feel more relaxed and replaces an unhealthy routine with something much better.
- Celebrate together. Turn your coworkers successes into something everyone can rally around. Coworkers can congratulate the quitter for each milestone along the quitting journey and have a larger celebration at a milestone of the quitter’s choice.
Regardless of your relationship with the quitter, you can help them be more successful in their attempt to quit. Offer them kindness, encouragement and distraction, and you’ll be a key part of their quitting success.