Helping a smoker quit

| 02 Mar 2015 | 05:00

    Useful tips for friends and family

    Respect that the quitter is in charge. This is their lifestyle change and their challenge, not yours.

    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.

    Let the person know that it's OK to talk to you whenever they need to hear encouraging words.

    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.

    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.

    Try to see it from the smoker's point of view ? a smoker's habit may feel like an old friend that has always been there when times were tough. It's hard to give that up.

    Make your home smoke free, meaning that no one can smoke in any part of the house. Remove lighters and ash trays from your home.

    Help the quitter with a few chores, some child care, cooking ? whatever will help lighten the stress of quitting.

    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.

    If your ex-smoker 'slips':

    Don't assume that they will start back smoking like before. A "slip" (taking a puff or smoking a cigarette or 2) is pretty common when a person is quitting.

    Remind the quitter how long they went without a cigarette before the slip.

    Help the quitter remember all the reasons they wanted to quit, and help them forget about the slip as soon as possible.

    Don't scold, tease, nag, blame, or make the quitter feel guilty. Be sure the quitter knows that you care about them whether or not they smoke.

    Source: American Cancer Society: