When a friend or family member is considering quitting or has decided to quit smoking, she may need a support group. While some people quit cold turkey without help, many people find it useful to have people hold them accountable during the process and to encourage them when going through the withdrawal symptoms. If you are part of that support network, consider how you can help your friend through the transition. With the right words and motivation, you can work with your friend to accomplish her goal.
Encourage Someone Committed to Quitting
Find out how you can help. People are motivated by different approaches. Talk with the person before he stops smoking completely and ask how you can assist him. Some people set up a catch phrase like “five more minutes.” You can email the catch phrase to your friend to remind him you are there to help.
Invest your time in helping the person to stop smoking. Once you know how you can help, make sure you keep your commitment. The amount of encouragement a person needs depends on her personality. Some friends may need five minutes of your time to give you an update on their progress. Others may need you to spend hours with them to avoid the temptation to smoke.
Offer unconditional love or friendship. It can take several tries before a person successfully quits smoking. Let your friend or family member know that you are there for her whether she succeeds or not.
Gauge your friend’s mood before you offer praise. Sometimes praise has a negative effect on people, especially when they are trying to break an addiction. Look for signs of a positive mindset to determine whether the person might be open to praise. People not open to your encouragement may cross their arms, scowl or walk away from you. When a person is not in the mood for praise, talk with them about other areas of their life, such as their kids or work, and refrain from discussing their decision to stop smoking.
Plan activities to help your friend avoid temptation. Habit often plays a role in smoking. Determine when and where your friend feels tempted to smoke and help her avoid those temptations by offering alternative activities. If your friend normally smokes during a lunch break, offer to take him to lunch.
Allow time for support groups. Some of the best encouragement your friend can get will come from people who have experienced nicotine withdrawal. Online and local support groups are available, but mention to your friend that this will require a time commitment.
Be understanding and do not criticize your friend’s attempt to quit. People who are coming off a nicotine addiction will experience different withdrawal symptoms. Your friend may lash out at you or feel too tired to do a planned activity. Do not take it personally.
Celebrate success. It can help to set up little milestones along the path to stop smoking. Your friend may want to celebrate the first 24-hour period without a cigarette. Others might want to set goals at a week, a month or a year.
Encourage an Undecided Friend to Quit
Point out the health benefits. The National Cancer Institute reports that more than 400,000 deaths occur because of smoking-related issues. In some cases, you may want to point out the potential health risks of secondhand smoke. According to the National Cancer Institute, secondhand smoke contributes to the onset of lung cancer, asthma, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and heart disease in nonsmokers.
Help your friend consider the improvement in personal hygiene if he quits. Smoking leaves a scent on clothes, skin and breath that nonsmokers can find unappealing. It can also stain clothes, teeth and fingernails.
Calculate how much money a person could save over the course of a week, a month or a year. People do not always realize how much they spend on cigarettes or cigars, especially when they look at the cost of one pack. By adding the amount of money spent over a longer period of time, it can help your friend see a bigger financial picture.