Helping Family & Friends

Helping a Family Member or Friend Quit Using Tobacco

Most people know someone who uses tobacco and want to help them quit. Ultimately, the decision to quit is for the tobacco user to decide. Once the person makes the decision to quit there are a few things you can do. The most important thing is to provide them with support as their journey to quit might not be an easy one.

It Takes Time

Many tobacco users don't just wake up one morning and completely quit using, so be patient and encouraging. It takes time! Cutting down one or two cigarettes a day can be difficult. Agree that what they are doing is not easy and that you respect them for their attempt. Keep in mind that tobacco is arguably the most addictive substance.

Ask How You Can Help

Unless you were a tobacco user and quit, you have no idea what it feels like to quit, so refrain from telling the person you know how he or she feels. Instead, ask them how you can support them. Asking the person what they need from you is very important in answering the question of how to help someone quit smoking.

Do the Simple Things

There are simple things you can do to help a person that you may not have even considered. Avoid places where smoking is abundant. Spend more time with the person. Help the person start an exercise regimen, go for walks, call at a certain time of day, or go to the grocery store with them. Don't be afraid to just listen to them. Stop telling them how horrible their smoking is, they already know!

Send a Word of Support

Know someone trying to quit? A little shout out can go a long ways. Friends, family, coworkers, anyone trying to quit tobacco will appreciate a quick note or email explaining that you're there and cheering them on. The American Lung Association has even created a special motivational e-card you can send to your friends and family.

Don't Give Criticism

People who use tobacco know that it's bad for them, so don't constantly nag them about how they are damaging their health. Let them know that you value them as a person and want them around for as long as possible.

Have Confidence

There will be times when the person has no confidence and thinks it's just too challenging to quit. Let them know that you have faith in them. You having confidence in them can help them find the strength they need to keep going in their quit attempt.

Give Praise

Don't forget to give praise or reward the person, even if it's a small achievement like cutting down on their tobacco use. Don't let the praise stop once they quit. They may need lifelong encouragement to stay tobacco-free.

Remember that only a quitter knows how hard it is to deal with the cravings. You can think about how to help someone quit smoking and do everything you can, but ultimately, it is their decision and their triumph when they succeed.