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Friends and Family
Smoking Cessation Help a Smoker Quit

How Friends and Family Can Help

The American Cancer Society recommends the following to help a smoker quit.

Helping A Smoker Quit: General Hints for Friends and Family

Do respect that the quitter is in charge. This is their lifestyle change and their challenge, not yours.

Do ask the person whether he or she wants you to call or visit regularly to see how he or she is doing. Let the person know that it's okay to call you whenever he or she needs to hear encouraging words.

Do help the quitter get what she or he needs, such as hard candy to suck on, straws to chew on and fresh veggies cut up and kept cold in the refrigerator.

Do spend time doing things with the quitter to keep his or her mind off smoking -- go to the movies, take a walk to get past a craving (what many call a "nicotine fit") or take a bike ride together.

Do help the quitter with a few chores, some child care, cooking--whatever will help lighten the stress of quitting.

Do celebrate along the way. Quitting smoking is a BIG DEAL!

Don't take the quitter's grumpiness personally during his or her nicotine withdrawal. The symptoms usually pass in about 2 weeks.

Don't offer advice. Just ask how you can help with the plan or program they are using.

If Your Smoker "Slips"


Don't assume that he or she 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.

Do remind the quitter how long he or she went without a cigarette before the slip.

Do help the quitter remember all the reasons he or she wanted to quit, and forget about the slip as soon as possible.

Don't scold, nag or make the quitter feel guilty. Be sure the quitter knows that you care about him or her whether or not he or she smokes

If Your Smoker Relapses


Research shows that most people try to quit smoking five to seven times before they succeed. If a relapse happens, think of it as practice for the time he or she will succeed. Don't give up your
efforts to encourage and support your loved one. If the person you care about fails to quit:


Do praise him or her for trying to quit, and for whatever length of time (days, weeks or months) of not smoking.

Do encourage him or her to try again. Don't say, "If you try again..." Say, "When you try again..." Studies show that most people who don't succeed in quitting are ready to try again in the near future.

Do encourage him or her to learn from the attempt. Things a person learns from a failed attempt to quit may help him or her be successful in a future attempt. It takes time and skills to learn to be a non-smoker.

Do say, "It's normal to not succeed the first time you try to quit. Most people understand this, and know that they have to try to quit again. You didn't smoke for two whole weeks this time. You got through the worst part. Now you know you can do that much. Now that you know you can get through the worst part, you can get even further next time."

If You Are A Smoker


Do smoke outside and always away from the quitter.

Do keep your cigarettes and matches out of sight. They might be triggers for your loved one to smoke.

Don't ever offer the quitter a smoke, even as a joke!

Do join your friend in his or her effort to quit. It's better for your health and might be easier to do with someone else who is trying to quit!

Click here to find a list of resources that can help you quit smoking



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