You probably know you can’t force a loved one to quit smoking. The smoker has to be the one to decide to quit. But once the decision is made, you may wonder how to best offer support so he or she can be most successful. After all, you have much to gain when your loved one quits smoking—they get healthier and you are no longer exposed to second-hand smoke. Here are some tips that may be helpful to your loved one.
- Keep the lines of communication open and when in doubt, ask what you can do to be supportive.
- Don’t be hurt if the quitter pushes you away and doesn’t seem to want your support at times. Nicotine withdrawal can cause irritability and at times make a loved one say or do things they don’t really mean. Just continue to make yourself available if your support is needed.
- Don’t bring up the topic of smoking or cigarettes unless the quitter does first. He or she is trying hard to ignore the cravings.
- Help the quitter avoid triggers that will make him or her want to smoke, such as avoiding restaurants or bars, or certain friends or social situations for a while.
- Help the quitter by making sure others know not to smoke around the quitter (in the home or car at least), or leave cigarettes lying around.
- Try to act as normal as possible around the quitter, yet at the same time, try to suggest fun activities that you can do together as a means of distraction.
- Keep telling the quitter you love and support him or her, that it will get better, and that quitting is worth it!
- Do not make the quitter feel guilty if they relapse and have a cigarette. Congratulate them for the time they were able to not smoke. Remind them that it usually takes many people many attempts to successfully quit. And continue to encourage them to try, try again.