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How to help someone quit smoking

One of the best things you can do for a friend is help them quit smoking. Smokers need support, not criticism when they’re trying to quit smoking. A good support system is important to help smokers get through withdrawal symptoms and stay motivated about their choice to quit smoking for good.

Ultimately, the decision to quit needs to be made by the person who smokes. But, by providing positive support and understanding, you can help someone through it. Here are ways to help:

  • Ask how you can help your friend.
  • Listen and encourage them.
  • Understand and acknowledge that quitting is difficult. 
  • Most smokers who quit experience physical withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms can last anywhere from 48 hours to as long as four weeks. Give your friend extra support and understanding while they’re in withdrawal. Remind them that it will pass.
  • Encourage your friend to join a support group. Contact your local Lung Association to find out more.
  • Encourage your friend to choose healthy activities and do the activity with him/her. 
  • Keep encouraging your friend, even if she starts smoking again. Most people who quit smoking forever had to try a few times before they could quit for good. Help your friend figure out what made her smoke again and help her avoid those things. Tell your friend that quitting takes practice. The next time she tries to quit, she'll do even better.
  • Celebrate her success on being smoke-free.