No one can make anyone quit. Tobacco users have to be ready to quit, and when they are, they need lots of support from their families, friends and even coworkers. That’s why at Project Filter, we say, “You decide when. We’ll show you how.” Support your loved one by encouraging them to quit. One of the most helpful things you can do is to create a smoke-free environment by removing lighters and ashtrays, washing smelly clothes, avoiding smokey restaurants and bars and doing things that take their mind off of it.
Here are ten do’s and don’ts of helping someone quit:
- Do respect the quitter – they are in charge and this is their decision, not yours.
- Do ask questions – find out if they want you to ask how they’re doing and feeling, and let them know you’re there if they want to talk.
- Do get them what they need – whether it is things to chew on or eat, such as hard candy, gum, sunflower seeds, toothpicks, straws, fresh veggies, you name it – be creative.
- Do lighten their stress – help out with a few chores, child care, cooking – whatever they need to feel less stressed.
- Do celebrate – quitting is a long journey and every milestone matters. Be sure to congratulate them and celebrate anniversaries whether they are days, weeks, months or years.
- Don’t give up – show them that you believe they can do it, even if it’s the third, fifth or seventh time they’re trying. Use words of encouragement and stay positive.
- Don’t push – they must set their quit date, not you. You are there to support them, not pressure or guilt them.
- Don’t talk down to them – you might come off as judgmental or unable to relate. If you’ve used tobacco, you know how difficult it is to quit.
- Don’t use anger – if personal feelings against smoking are so strong that you can’t talk about it without raising your voice, hostility can get in the way of lovingly influencing and supporting someone.
- Don’t use fear tactics – smokers are most likely very aware of the dangers and spouting facts can come off as condescending. Sharing your own feelings and fears of losing the person you love may be more effective.