How to Help a Friend Quit Smoking
Sometimes people need a little help to get onto the path to quit smoking. Most people don’t ask for help, even if they need it. If you have a family member or friend who needs to stop smoking, here are some tips to getting the conversation started and what you can do to help.
Starting the Conversation
If you have a friend or family member you’d like to help quit smoking, just getting the conversation started can be the hardest part. Your goal should be to guide your friend into telling you they want to quit rather than you telling them they need to quit. To get the ball rolling, here are some tips to getting your friend or loved one to start talking about quitting smoking.
- Get their permission to talk about their smoking habits by asking a question like “May I tell you what concerns me about your smoking?”
- Ask open-ended questions, like “How would your life be different if you didn’t smoke?”
- Be encouraging and offer affirmations, not judgments. “You really tried hard this week” or “You are such a strong person” are good places to start.
- Listen reflectively by paraphrasing what they have said with no inflection, and hypothesize about what they are thinking and feeling.
- Summarize what they’ve told you with phrases like “I’d like to try and pull together what you’ve said so far - let me know if I miss something important.”
- The final step is to really find out what they’re thinking about the idea of quitting smoking. You can do this by asking questions like “So where does this leave you?” and “So what are you thinking at this point?”
Once the conversation has started, make sure you can explain the benefits of why your friend should quit smoking. What’s in it for them? Here are some of the very best reasons to quit smoking. Close
Making a Plan
After you’ve broken the ice, so to speak, if your friend is ready to quit smoking, you can help them create a plan. Having it down on paper can really help make the plan to quit more “real” and help hold your friend accountable for their actions... Close
What are the main reasons why I have decided
to quit smoking? (examples: my health, my family, financial)
What are some things that have prevented me
from quitting in the past? (Examples: stress, habit, social settings)
Here are a few reasons that might make me want to smoke: (Waking up, Driving in the car, Alcohol, Coffee, Breaks after meals, Boredom, Stress, Other)
What challenges will I face in the next few months that might affect my quit attempt?
(Examples: family wedding, neighborhood party, out-of-town guests, fear of failure, fear of gaining weight, dealing with stress)
What strengths do I have that will help me succeed? (examples: I am strong-willed,goal-oriented)
If I feel the urge to smoke, I will _____ instead of smoking. (Examples: use Nicotine replacement therapy, drink a glass of water, count to 20, remember my reasons for quitting)
My daily affirmation or new way of thinking can be: (Examples: smoking isn’t an option, I see myself as a non-smoker)
My new behavior: (Examples: alter routines, plan ahead, keep busy)
Help support a friend through withdrawal symptoms
When your friend or family member quits smoking, they will most likely experience some physical and/or psychological withdrawal symptoms. These vary by person, but for most people, the worst of the symptoms only last a few days to a couple of weeks. Knowing what some of these nicotine withdrawal symptoms are can enable you to help your friend through them:
If you see signs of withdrawal, you can help support your friend by:
- Reminding them that these symptoms are temporary
- Going for a walk with them – physical activity can help distract from withdrawal symptoms
- Recommending meditation or other relaxation techniques
- Spending time with them, go out to eat or go see a movie
- Helping them avoid contact with other friends who smoke
- Reminding them of all they’ll gain by quitting
- Encouraging them to talk to their healthcare provider about nicotine replacement therapy(NRT) like Nicorette or NicoDerm CQ
According to the National Cancer Institute, NRT delivers measured doses of nicotine, which helps to relieve cravings and withdrawal symptoms people may experience when they quit smoking. Nicotine replacement therapy is an effective treatment that can increase the likelihood of quitting smoking.
Get support from Nicorette and NicoDerm CQ
Adding a nicotine replacement like Nicorette or NicoDerm CQ to your quit plan can give you the extra support you need on your journey to quit smoking.