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Do's and Don'ts on helping a smoker quit

June 16, 2017

Quitting smoking is not easy. Here is some helpful information for you or someone you know kick the habit.

  • Do respect that the quitter is in charge. This is their lifestyle change and their challenge, not yours.
  • Do ask the person whether they want you to ask regularly how they’re doing. Ask how they’re feeling – not just whether they’ve stayed quit.
  • Do let the person know that it’s OK to talk to you whenever they need to hear encouraging words.
  • Do help the quitter get what they need, such as hard candy to suck on, straws to chew on, and fresh veggies cut up and kept in the refrigerator.
  • Do spend time doing things with the quitter to keep their 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 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. It’s hard to give that up.
  • Do make your home smoke free, meaning that no one can smoke in any part of the house.
  • Do remove all lighters and ash trays from your home. Remove anything that reminds them of smoking
  • Do wash clothes that smell like smoke. Clean carpets and drapes. Use air fresheners to help get rid of the tobacco smells – and don’t forget the car, too.
  • 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 doubt the smoker’s ability to quit. Your faith in them reminds them they can do it.
  • Don’t judge, nag, preach, tease, or scold. This may make the smoker feel worse about him or herself. You don’t want your loved one to turn to a cigarette to soothe hurt feelings.
  • Don’t take the quitter’s grumpiness personally during their nicotine withdrawal. Tell them that you understand the symptoms are real and remind them that they won’t last forever. The symptoms usually get better in about 2 weeks.
  • Don’t offer advice. Just ask how you can help with the plan or program they are using.

For more resources to help someone quit, visit setyourdate.org.

Source: American Cancer Society

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