Home > Health Library > Quitting Smoking: Helping Someone Quit
Your partner or friend has decided it's
time to quit smoking.
This is great news. You're excited, and you
want to help. But you don't want your partner or friend to feel that you're
coming on too strong or that you're "checking up" on him or her.
This Actionset will give you tips on helping someone who is trying to
quit smoking. The information also applies to other tobacco products, such as
chew or snuff.
some basic facts about smoking can make it easier for you to understand what
quitting is like. This may make it easier to help the person.
The smoker is in charge. Only the smoker can make
the decision to quit and to follow through and quit successfully. It's this
person's choice and challenge, not yours. You are not responsible if the person
Most smokers have to try many times before they quit for good. If the person starts to smoke again,
accept it. Don't show disappointment or make the person feel guilty. Tell the
person that when he or she is ready to try again, you'll be willing to help
Knowing why smokers relapse may
help you help the person avoid a relapse. People often start to smoke again
Most smokers don't succeed the first time they try to
Most smokers need several tries before they
quit for good. If your friend relapses, don't show disappointment or make him
or her feel guilty.
Continue to Why?
If you have ever been a smoker, you know how hard quitting can be.
If you never smoked, it can be hard to understand why people smoke and how tough
it is to quit.
So why do people have such a hard time
Cigarettes contain nicotine, which is
addictive. Nicotine changes the brain so you want more
of it. If you stop smoking and stop getting nicotine, your body fights back by
making you feel bad. This is known as
nicotine withdrawal. For some people, nicotine is as
hard to quit as heroin or cocaine.
But there's more to smoking
than nicotine. People smoke for many reasons, and these reasons also make it
hard for them to quit. Smoking may:
These reasons seem very good to smokers. Without
cigarettes, they may feel that something is missing in their lives. They may
feel that they can't cope without smoking.
Imagine how hard it
would be for you to give up a habit that you enjoy or that you think helps you
in some way. What would you use as your replacement? How would you cope?
The combination of nicotine addiction and reasons to smoke make it very
hard to quit.
It's hard to stop smoking because:
addictive, and the withdrawal symptoms make it hard to stop using nicotine.
Both answers are correct.
The reasons that
people have for smoking are important to them. Without cigarettes, people may
feel that something is missing from their lives or that they may not be able to
cope. Both answers are correct.
Continue to How?
friends are an important source of support and motivation for a person who is
trying to quit smoking.
Before offering help, ask if it's okay to
help, and then ask what you can do. Don't assume that the person wants your
help or that you know the best way to help.
If a person asks for
your support, there are many things you may be able to do.
It is important to the
person trying to quit to know whether you smoke, are an ex-smoker, or have
Smokers usually have
triggers, which are things that make them want to
smoke. You can help a smoker avoid these.
Most people need more
than one try to stop smoking. If the person slips up, let him or her know that
it's okay and that you still care.
There are many resources
available to help someone quit smoking, and they make quitting more likely.
Here are some ideas you can suggest:
As soon as you know that your friend has quit smoking,
it's a good idea to jump in to help.
Before you give someone support, ask to make
sure that the person wants help, and ask what type of help he or she would
Continue to Where?
If you would like more information on quitting smoking,
the following resources are available:
website provides resources for quitting smoking and tobacco prevention, including information for children, teens, researchers, and scientists.
There are also reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fact sheets, a publications catalog, a smoking and health resource library, and other materials, such as buttons, calendars, and eCards.
This is also the location for the State Tobacco Activities Tracking and Evaluation (STATE) System.
The toll-free number is a single access point to the National
Network of Tobacco Cessation Quitlines. Callers are automatically routed to a
state-run quitline, if one exists in their area. If there is no state-run
quitline, callers are routed to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) quitline,
where they may receive help with quitting smoking, informational materials, and
referrals to other resources.
This website provides free information and
professional assistance to help support people who are trying to quit smoking.
The information provided is for both the immediate and long-term needs of
people who are trying to quit and for friends and family who care about them.
This website includes an online guide to
quitting smoking, local and state telephone quitlines, the National Cancer
Institute's national telephone quitline and instant messaging service, and
publications that can be ordered or downloaded and printed. There is also a link to women.smokefree.gov, which has more resources for women who want to quit smoking.
Quitting smoking can be hard. Here are some tools that
you can suggest to someone who is trying to quit:
Return to topic:
Quitting Tobacco Use
July 6, 2011
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & John Hughes, MD - Psychiatry
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