How to quit smoking : let your loved ones help you
Once smokers have decided to quit, they are most likely to make it when friends and family give their help and support. Don’t underestimate your role in helping others quit smoking. Here are some tips to help a loved one quit:
To help a loved one get ready:
1) Respect the fact that the quiter is in charge. He decides when, how and for how long. It is his lifestyle change, his challenge. You are here to help, not to dicatate your way. Ask how you can be most helpful. Quitting is different for each smoker.
2) Praise him for trying to quit and for whatever length of time (days, weeks or months) of not smoking.
3) Help him figure out how to cope with urges to smoke. Subtitutes and distractions need to be found, especially for key moments : first minutes in the morning, after a meal,…
– Call someone until the urge to smoke passes
– Leave the place that makes him want to smoke (a party full of smokers, a stressful meeting, etc)
– Go for a walk around the block.
– Find a different and less dangerous addiction : hard candies to suck on, straws to chew on.
4) Help him remove anything that reminds him of smoking and help him clean anything that smells like smoke (carpets, drapes, car, etc).
To help during the first days of abstinence:
5) Remind him that the symptoms right after quitting will go away as the body gets rid of the nicotine. These symptoms include for instance trouble sleeping, lack of concentration and anxiety. So don’t take the quitter’s grumpiness personally during his nicotine withdrawal. It usually gets better in about 2 weeks.
6) Be very careful. Don’t judge, nag or scold. He might feel worse about himself and turn to a cigarette to soothe hurt feelings.
7) Help him destress.
To help in the long term:
8) Be there for the long haul. Celebrate along the way. Quitting smoking is a big deal! Let him know that he can talk to you anytime and whenever he needs to hear encouraging words.
9) Don’t doubt the smoker’s ability to stay quitted. Your faith in him reminds him he can do it
10) Don’t ask too often whether he’s stayed quit. He doesn’t need to be reminded all the time. It is hard enough.
If your ex-smoker slips…
– Don’t assume that he will start back smoking like before.
– Continue to offer support and encouragement. He is not failing, he is learning how to quit. It takes time and skills to learn to be a non-smoker. Each time he tries to quit is a step forward. Most people try to quit several times before they actually succeed.
– Help him figure out what led to his relapse and plan what he will do next time in that situation.
If you are a smoker…
– Smoke away from the quitter.
– Keep your cigarettes, lighters, and matches out of sight.
– Don’t offer the quitter a smoke, even as a joke. Ever!
If you are not a smoker…
– Don’t judge. Don’t lecture. Understand that quitting smoking is hard. Try to see it from the smoker’s point of view – a smoker’s habit may feel like an old friend that’s always been there when times were tough.