Millions of Americans struggle to quit smoking. Users get addicted to the nicotine in cigarettes, which can create a sense of calm. Secondhand smoke can affect people who don’t use cigarettes, and for this reason—as well as the concern for their loved ones—many non-smokers take an interest in the smoking habits of those around them. For some people, having the support of those around them can make all the difference in their attempts to quit smoking.
Be a Resource
Smokers struggle with quitting their addiction when they feel like they are fighting the battle on their own. While it is ultimately up to the individual whether she quits smoking or not, the American Cancer Society encourages friends and family to be available to a person trying not to smoke. Let her know that you are there to listen as well as to provide words of encouragement and advice. Frequently check in on her to see how she is feeling and to offer any support. Be available to get candies, straws or other aids that provide the smoker comfort during withdrawal. Make yourself available for activities that can put her mind at ease through distraction, whether it’s a trip to the mall or the movies, a walk around the neighborhood or other physical activity.
If a person is suffering from nicotine withdrawal, odds are he won’t be performing up to his usual levels. The person might struggle to be as productive throughout the day as normal, and his mood can be affected by his discomfort. Help out however you can to reduce his workload around the house, for example by helping with chores, taking the kids off his hands for a spell or cooking a meal. Keep in mind that many people use cigarettes as a way to relieve stress. Don’t take it personally when he is crabby or moody with you. This is just a product of the withdrawal, and it usually passes in two weeks or less.
Give Encouraging Reminders
Friends and family can help a loved one kick her smoking habit by providing polite and simple reminders about how long she’s gone without a cigarette as well as the reasons she initially wanted to quit smoking.
If your friend or loved one breaks his streak and has a cigarette, don’t give up hope on him. Remain positive and offer encouragement that he can continue quitting from that point on. Don’t assume he will go back to smoking or scold him if he makes a mistake. Just because a quitter has a cigarette doesn’t mean he can’t continue making progress. Positive reinforcement and attitudes from those around him can help make his smoking habit a thing of the past.