Tips for Friends and Family
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.
You can’t make somebody quit, but you can help.
If you know someone who is ready to quit or is thinking about quitting, calling the Maine Tobacco HelpLine is a great first step. As a friend or family member of a smoker, you can call the HelpLine to get information and tips on how to help others quit.
What you can do
Do 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.
Do 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.
Do 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, and going to the movies, the mall or to smoke-free restaurants.
Do 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.
Do offer your help. Think of ways to make the first week less stressful. Help with chores or other things.
Do 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.
What you shouldn’t do
Don't judge or nag. It’s important to be supportive and understand how difficult it is to quit. If the smoker has a relapse or slip, remind them that it takes several attempts and stay positive!
Don't take offense if the smoker is irritable or grumpy towards you. These can be side effects of withdrawal and will pass as they begin to adjust to life without nicotine.
Don't pretend to “know it all.” Offering support and offering advice are two different things. Make sure that you are making things easier for him or her and not offering unwanted feedback or comments.
If you are a smoker, don’t smoke around those that are trying to quit. Keep triggers such as cigarettes, matches and lighters out of sight.