Helping Others Quit Smoking

Do you have a loved one–a friend, partner or family member–who could use a little help to quit smoking? The support of friends and family can make a big difference in the quitting process. From offering encouragement to providing alternative activities, learn how to help someone you love quit smoking.

When Someone Needs Help Quitting Smoking

If you’d like to offer someone else encouragement and help to quit smoking, you’re certainly not alone. You may benefit from the wisdom of others who have faced the same challenge. Keep the following tips in mind:

  • Be patient. Remember that simply making the decision to quit smoking can be a process with many stages. Instead of rushing the person, it may be a good idea to wait until she brings up the subject on her own. Once she makes a statement like “I think it’s time for me to quit smoking,” you can act by offering encouragement.
  • Don’t judge. Listening is one of the best things you can do to help. For smoking cessation to be successful, a smoker has to take charge of the process on her own. Shaming and nagging won’t accomplish very much if she needs help quitting smoking, but listening might.
  • Keep smiling. During the quitting process, try to stay lighthearted and make the person smile, even when she can’t. One of the best ways you can offer help for smoking cessation is to remember that quitting is a miserable process; try to stay empathetic. When the smoker experiences cranky moments or lapses along the way, try not to get impatient or to judge. Remember that it’s the addiction you’re upset with, not the person.
  • Provide support. If your friend or partner needs help to quit smoking, gently and tactfully steer the person away from temptation. If you know there are places and circumstances under which she’s more likely to smoke, suggest alternatives.

Help For Smoking Teenagers

If you suspect your child has started smoking, try not to overreact. Just as you would with a friend or spouse, keep the channels of communication open by listening. If you remain calm and resist the urge to lecture or nag, you may find out what attracted your child to smoking in the first place.

If you smoke, try to quit smoking yourself. This will lend more credibility to your words. In addition, encourage other healthy activities like sports. And while you don’t want your child to fear punishment or judgment, you can also be firm with rules and exclude smoking from your home.

One thing to remember as you offer help: quitting smoking isn’t easy, and the withdrawal process can be difficult for nonsmokers to understand. Provide support by staying available, listening and remaining patient.


Kids Health. (2010). Kids and smoking. Retrieved October 5, 2010, from

The Ultimate Quit Smoking Guide. (2010). How to help someone quit smoking. Retrieved October 5, 2010, from

Quit Smoking Support. (2010). Do you want to help someone quit smoking? Retrieved October 10, 2010, from