Supporting a loved one while they quit is one of the most important things you can do to help them have a longer, healthier life. As a friend or family member, it is important to offer your help each step of the way. Even when quitting gets hard, telling someone they can do it can make a big difference.
If you know someone who is ready to quit or is thinking about quitting, calling the Maine Tobacco HelpLine is a great first step. It’s free, confidential, and it really works. That person will receive supportive help and a personalized plan to help with quitting, and it can all be done by phone. As a friend or family member of a smoker, you can also call the HelpLine to get information and tips on how to help a friend or family member quit.
Call the HelpLine toll-free at 1-800-207-1230.
Offer lots of encouragement. Don’t nag them about quitting – wait for them to say it’s time to quit. Let them know that you’re proud of them. And instead of offering advice, ask how you can help.
Give them practical help. Help make a quit kit. Include gum, toothpicks, mints – anything they might use instead of tobacco. You can even add pictures of loved ones.
Help them stay busy. It will ease the urge to use tobacco – a feeling that usually passes in five minutes or less. Make a list of things to do together, like taking walks, doing yard work, going to the movies, the mall or to smoke-free restaurants.
Let them know you understand. Have patience. It can be tough to learn new ways to do things without tobacco. Simple things, like taking a break or relaxing after a meal, can be hard. Don’t be surprised if the quitter acts grumpy or nervous. This is a normal part of quitting. And don’t take grouchy comments personally.
Offer your help. Think of ways to make the first week less stressful. Help with chores or other things.
Keep offering. Quitting is a step-by-step process. An urge to smoke can happen many months after quitting. Listen well when they talk about it, remind them how far they have come, and keep offering help.
Taking a puff or smoking a cigarette or two is common when a person is quitting. If someone you know who is trying to quit has a relapse, lend your support and let him or her know that you care. Always remember to stay positive and never scold, nag, or make them feel guilty.
Get Do’s and Don’ts for Friends and Family from the American Cancer Society.