How to Help a Loved One Quit Smoking
Many people set the goal to quit using tobacco because of the numerous health benefits that come along with living a tobacco-free life. But we know that making this transition is much easier said than done, and battling this addiction alone can be even harder. In order to make a lifestyle change, we all need support from a loved one or a friend that’s willing to be there when we need it the most.
Here’s what you can do to support a friend or family member who’s in the process of quitting smoking:
- Don’t lecture your loved one. Lecturing and nagging your friend or family member who’s battling addiction won’t help them. If you see them struggling, though it can be disheartening, it’s important not to give up. Always remember that your support is very important to their journey. Instead of getting down on the process, let them know that they can still quit and remind them of the progress they have made so far.
- Help Celebrate The Milestones. When you’re working to accomplish a goal, it’s important to recognize your progress. Setting up a rewards system is a great way to recognize your loved one for the progress they’re making. You can cook a meal, take them out for a night or join them for their favorite activity once they hit a milestone (such as not having a cigarette for a week, or resisting an offer to smoke).
- Help them stay busy and find distractions. Leaving your loved one with a lot of time on their hands can make it easy for them to relapse. Help them stay busy by doing activities like going to the movies, going for a walk or a bike ride. Picking up a new hobby can help to ease their transition more smoothly.
- Keep them out of tempting environments. Remember that addiction is a hard illness to get over and it’s important that your loved one stays clear of situations that may cause them to slip. Do your best to keep them away from other people who smoke and places where cigarettes are easily available. Even try making a kind gesture, such as washing their clothes or cleaning up their home to get rid of tobacco smells. Stressful situations also trigger cravings, so you may be willing to help with daily tasks for a couple weeks, at least until their cravings start to decrease.
- Listen to them and be understanding. Sometimes being there for a loved one during their quitting journey means simply listening when they just need to talk it out. It’s also important to put yourself in their shoes to get a better understanding of their daily struggles, which will help you be an even better supporter.
Quitting a habit like smoking isn’t an easy transition, but we’re here to help, and so are the many organizations that offer in-person counseling programs and telephone help lines. For more information on strategies, medicine and other support resources you can:
- Talk to your doctor.
- Read Blue Care Network of Michigan’s Quit Guide.
- Watch Blue Care Network’s video featuring a doctor’s advice on smoking.
- Call the Michigan Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-784-8669.
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