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How to Help Someone Quit Smoking

help someone quit smoking

If you want to help someone quit smoking, then you probably have some questions about how to go about it. This guide will help you understand the quitting process and how you can assist, and hopefully it will answer most of your questions about how you can help someone quit their addictive habit.

Is It Really Possible to Quit Smoking?

While many people try to quit and fail, it is certainly possible for someone to successfully quit. But it is not an easy process, and if they are going to succeed, they will likely need support from their friends and family. People who care about them and who are close to them will be able to have the most persuasion on their quitting, but the key factor to remember is to stay in contact with them while they are trying to quit.

How Can I Help Someone Quit?

Cigarette smoking comes with both physical and emotional addictions. So quitting is rarely easy, but it can be made easier if the person trying to quit has some help. You can really support them by keeping them away from cigarettes. Many people go to some sort of retreat or remote location to get away from cigarettes. Help Someone Quit SmokingThis makes it very difficult for them to buy cigarettes and keeps them away from influences that remind them of smoking.

This can help with the physical urges, but the emotional ones may be harder to control. If your friend slips back into smoking briefly, then you still need to encourage and not berate. Don’t call out the slip ups, but provide support. If you make your friend upset about their progress and depressed, then it will make it harder for them to resist their emotional urges for cigarettes.

It is very important to keep up a rapport with the person trying to quit in their initial stages. Make sure you are available for them to talk to and that they know you are willing to help. They will be suffering withdrawal symptoms, and it can help them to have someone to tell about what they are experiencing. Be sure to stay supportive and try not to preach to them or scold them, even when they fall back on smoking again. Instead, offer encouragement and tell them how proud you are of their willingness to quit and what they have accomplished so far.

I Quit Before. Will It Be Just Like That for My Friend? 

Addiction affects everybody differently. Just because your quitting was easy or difficult does not mean it will be the same for your friend. The chemical makeup of a person can determine how their nicotine addiction will make them feel once they start to suffer withdrawal symptoms.

But their symptoms are also affected by how heavy of a smoker they were. If they smoked a pack a day for years, they are going to have a lot more separation anxiety and hard-to-control urges than someone who was a casual smoker or who just started.

You should be aware of this and not try to downplay their struggle just because you had very little struggle. It can be difficult to tell exactly what someone is going through when they withdraw, and they may be very good at hiding what they are experiencing. The key is to stay supportive and just provide any help they need.

How Long Will It Take Them to Quit?

The time it takes to fully quit and not feel the urges anymore will depend on a number of factors. The biggest one is how long and how heavily the person smoked. The longer you smoke for, the more that nicotine will stay in your system. If your friend smoked for years, it could be nearly as long before the urges are completely gone.

For most people, however, the worst urges will subside after a few weeks. After about three months, all the nicotine should have left their body, and they should not experience any serious cravings.

But being near cigarette smoke can trigger minor relapses, and it may make them have trouble staying away from smoking themselves. You will have to gauge your friend and see how they take the initial weeks before you have an idea of how they will fare in the following months.

It is important to stay in contact with them and offer encouragement, no matter how they are faring with their smoking. Be sure to stay positive and offer support, as criticism can make them want to go back to the comfort of smoking.

How Do I Continue to Provide Support?

In the following weeks, months and years, it is vital that you continue to support your friend. You can help by celebrating milestones and offering to do something special for them once they reach a new one. Make a big deal of even the smallest milestones, and you can celebrate each month they don’t smoke.

Remember that this is an addiction that will continue to affect them for a long time to come. While the worst of it will have passed in the first few weeks, they may let their guard down after a while. That’s when the cravings may rear up long enough to cause them to slip back once more. Be sure to stay in contact with your friend and find out how they are doing with quitting. Do your best to keep them away from other people who smoke and places where cigarettes are easily available.

If they do slip up and start smoking again, try to persuade them to give it up once more. Remind them about all the benefits of quitting and how much better they felt when they did quit. Remind them what their future holds if they continue to quit and the positive ways they can affect their life and their health by giving it up.

Quitting is usually not an easy or short process, but it can be done, and your support can help your friends overcome their addiction. 

5 Responses to "How to Help Someone Quit Smoking"

  • PvdK
    July 5, 2015 - 3:22 pm Reply

    I have quit smoking 8 years ago, but two months ago I restarted smoking again.
    I know it’s better not to smoke, but I just like smoking…..

  • PvdK
    July 5, 2015 - 3:23 pm Reply

    10 years ago, I have quit smoking.
    But two months ago I restarted smoking
    I know it’s better not to smoke, but I just like ik very much……..

  • PvdK
    July 5, 2015 - 4:02 pm Reply

    How to help someone quit smoking?
    Perhaps sometimes it is not possible.
    I didn’t smoke for 8 years…… but I just re-started smoking 3 months ago.
    Knowing it sounds stupid, but I just like smoking very much

    • SFIII
      August 23, 2015 - 8:17 am Reply

      PvdK, you don’t ‘like’ smoking; the drug has reprogrammed your brain and you are now under its control. Cigarette smoke smells bad, leaves a bad taste in the mouth, but the nicotine dulls your senses so that you don’t notice. You have confused ‘liking’ with mind control. Many sugar addicts have the same problem; they think that they ‘like’ sugar, but they are addicted to the initial rush when their blood sugar spikes, and stragetically ignore the ‘crash.’ Just like a heroin addict, you will ‘like’ that drug no matter how much it destroys your life, your health and your most intimate relationships.

      Good luck!


  • Waylon Malmin
    May 19, 2016 - 8:59 pm Reply

    Thanks, Karen! I will post about the backsplash and a couple other details in the next week or two 🙂 I’ll try to remember and come back here and let you know when I do!

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