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Help Others Quit Smoking

Your friend or loved one could do with your help if they are to become a non-smoker. But you have to offer real assistance, rather than nagging, preaching, smugness or criticism. You'll be much more helpful if you follow some of these tips.

If You Are an Ex-Smoker

Remember that:

  • the reasons people have for smoking and the things that trigger their smoking differ from smoker to smoker.
  • what helped you quit may not necessarily work for everyone.
  • it will help to encourage the smoker to try arranging things until they find what is best for them.
If You Are a Smoker
  • consider the influence you may have on the smoker if you do not make changes to your smoking.
  • are you willing to change too, by either cutting down or not smoking in front of them?
If You Have Never Smoked

If you have never smoked learn about the nature of nicotine addiction and understand that quitting can be very difficult. Especially in the early days smokers often feel in two minds about their smoking.

Don't Become Involved in Arguments

Don't become involved in arguments about smoking. Chances are that, underneath the bravado, the smoker knows as well as you do that smoking is becoming more anti-social and is bad for their health. Disagreements only make smokers more defensive and more likely to insist on their right to keep on smoking.

Show That You Care

Nagging achieves little and often results in both parties feeling angry. Express your opinion clearly and simply, in a way that shows that you care: don't just carry on about what they should be doing.

Show Your Friend a Better Way

How do you deal with your stress, boredom, good and bad feelings, minus the aid of cigarettes? Does your lifestyle provide an image of a non-smoker that would appeal to your smoking friend?

Let your friend know - tactfully - that there are self-help materials and organisations that can give support to people trying to quit. One way to do this is to find someone who has used these methods to help them quit, and introduce them to your friend. Let them know - if they ask, or are talking about how they should give up smoking - that they can call the Quitline on 131 848 for advice, information or a free quit kit.

How to help

Whether a smoker succeeds in quitting has a lot to do with how the people around them react to the decision. Some people will support them. Others will, consciously or subconsciously, work to undermine that person's plan to become a non-smoker. Smokers aren't the only saboteurs. If you want to make sure you're helping, not hindering, follow these tips.

Provide Support

Provide support, understanding and encouragement - even if your quitting friend slips up.

Sometimes smokers slip up and smoke a couple of cigarettes even though they are trying to quit. There are many reasons why this happens. The smoker may not have prepared for how to deal with all their usual smoking situations; they might have decided it's OK to have 'just one'; or they may have difficulty thinking of themselves as a non-smoker. If your friend slips-up, encourage them to put it behind them and focus on the reason why they quit.

If your friend goes back to full-time smoking, remember that most smokers make several attempts before they are able to stop completely. Every attempt is a step in the right direction and will make it easier for them to stop next time around. Criticism, on the other hand, is counterproductive: it just makes the smoker fearful of being judged and less likely to try again.

Help Your Friend

Help your friend to follow through with quitting strategies he or she has planned.

What sort of support do you think your friend wants you to provide? Perhaps you can support the smoker when they go out. If they have decided to avoid tempting situations, such as pubs or parties, suggest some alternative activities that you could enjoy together (such as going out to a smoke-free restaurant, a play or a film); If they have decided to take up exercise and need encouragement, offer to go along too.

Be Around

Sometimes, a person who is trying not to smoke just needs someone to talk to.

Site Resources

Uses these resources that help you plan and successfully quit smoking.

Check out our Quit Smoking Tips to help get you started.

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