How to help a friend or family member quit smoking
Tips for helping a friend or family member to kick the habit.
Written by spunout
Fact checked by experts and reviewed by young people.
Giving up cigarettes or vaping isn’t easy and you don’t have to be a smoker to know that. Watching friends or family members struggle with their addiction to nicotine can be difficult, but they don’t have to do it alone. There are ways you can support and be there for them.
Helping someone quit
Below are some tips for supporting someone to give up their nicotine addiction. Before you get involved, check out our info on the effects of smoking and the cost of smoking. Being informed about nicotine addiction and withdrawals can help you understand what your friend or family member is dealing with.
Offering your support
To help someone quit, you first have to realise that you can’t force them to stop smoking or vaping. Don’t try to nag or demand that they stop .as this won’t help. In fact, it may make things worse. In order for the quitting process to be genuine and successful they need to make the decision themselves. Instead, prepare for the time when they are ready to quit.
When the time comes that they are thinking of quitting, be positive and encourage them. Your support and encouragement will make a huge difference and will help them cope when the withdrawal symptoms hit.
Be patient as it may take many attempts before someone is able to quit for good. The main thing is to keep encouraging them at each attempt and try not to sabotage their efforts by being cynical or making them feel any worse.
Let them know about support groups
Let them know that there is individual and group support available to anyone who wants to quit smoking. These support groups are usually free of charge and in your local area. Encourage them to check out Quit.ie for tips on how to quit. They can also check out the Quit Facebook page to read stories from smokers who are quitting and to share their own.
Tell them about the Quitline on Freephone 1800 201 203 to talk to someone who understands and can help them to quit, and find the local support in their area.
If they are having success, make sure to praise their efforts and treat them to something special. If they’re not doing so well, try to avoid nagging or lecturing them as it will only make them feel worse. Advise them to take one day at a time and to reward themselves regularly throughout the process.
Help them make an exercise plan exercise
Encourage them to exercise regularly – this is a great way of dealing with withdrawal symptoms, and will help them feel better in general. You could also exercise together to keep each other motivated.
Make plans with them
Plan to do something nice with your friend at the end of each week as a reward for their hard work.
Be prepared for some serious mood swings. Your friend or family member will be experiencing intense nicotine withdrawals that will effect their mood and mental health. Let them know this is normal and will pass. The key is to be patient and realise that their mood is not personal.
Remind them of the benefits of quitting
It can be easy for someone who smoked to lose sight of why they wanted to quit in the first place, especially if they are in the middle of difficult symptoms and nicotine withdrawal. Reminding your friend of why they wanted to quit can help encourage them to stay the course.
Where your friends can go for support
- Let them know that there is individual and group support available to anyone who wants to quit smoking. Encourage them to check out Quit.ie for tips on how to quit.
- They can also check out the Quit.ie Facebook page to read stories from smokers who are quitting and to share their own.
- Tell them they can call the Quitline on Freephone 1800 201 203 to talk to someone who understands and can help them to quit.
- Share a link to SpunOut’s article about giving up cigarettes with them.
Disclaimer: There is more than one way to quit smoking. You may need to try a few different things to find what is right for you. For advice and support on quitting, visit SpunOut.ie/QUIT