If you have a loved one who smokes, chances are you want them to quit.
While this is their decision and their journey, having the support of their friends
and family can make their tough times easier and their victories more enjoyable. In addition to reading the following tips, you can call us to get more advice on how to help a smoker quit. Also consider downloading a MyQuit brochure or a Help a Smoker Quit Guide for yourself or others.
Top 10 Tips for Supporters
1. Friend first, smoker second
Whether or not the smoker in your life is ready to quit, show them that you care even if you might disagree with them smoking.
They are your friend or loved one first and a person who smokes second.
2. You can help them but you can’t do it for them
The decision to quit must come from the individual who smokes, not from you. Make sure you are there to offer support whenever your friend or loved one is ready but they must decide when they are ready.
3. Taking your lead from the smoker
Be sensitive to the moods and needs of the smoker who is quitting. At times they may require your support and at other times they may want to be left alone. Listen to their cues both verbally and non-verbally.
4. Be supportive during a slip or relapse
An individual’s journey to successfully quitting can be filled with detours and bumps – make sure that you are supportive if your friend or loved one does have a slip or relapse.
Don’t make them feel guilty and remain positive. Inform them that you would be happy to help when needed.
5. Sympathize with their situation
Think of a time when you had to change one of your behaviours and keep that in mind whenever you are supporting your friend or loved one through this process.
6. Ask yourself this question
Are you causing more stress to the smoker or are you providing the individual with positive support they need? Smokers don’t respond well to added pressure.
7. Things NOT to do
Don’t lecture or preach about the health hazards of smoking. Everyone knows that smoking isn’t good, especially smokers.
Don’t nag or give ultimatums.
Don’t put down or make the smoker feel guilty.
8. Understand the smoker
Smoking is a powerful addiction and one that can be very difficult to break.
Never suggest that quitting is easy.
Remember that quitting is a big step for a lot of people and one that often requires more behaviour changes than simply quitting smoking (often requires life changes).
Quitting can be different for everyone. Let the smoker decide how and when to quit; don’t offer your suggestions unless asked by the individual who smokes.
9. Be positive and encouraging
Offer words of encouragement. Talk to your friend or loved one in a way that will resonate with them.
10. Celebrate their successes
Quitting smoking is a big deal for a lot of people. Don’t be afraid to celebrate little successes with your friend or loved one along the way, if that is something that your friend or loved one would enjoy and appreciate.