Don’t smoke? You might think the Great American Smokeout and other quit smoking efforts don’t apply to you.
But if you have a friend, family member or co-worker who wants to quit, there are things you can do to show your support.
“Smoking is incredibly addictive and it’s a very hard habit to quit,” said Eileen Wolff, workplace wellness consultant, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. “But support from family and friends can make all the difference when it comes to quitting cigarettes and other forms of combustible tobacco.”
Quitting A Very Addictive Habit
Quitting smoking is one of the most important things a smoker can do to improve their health. Wolff offers the following tips for supporting those who are trying to quit:
- Encourage the people in your life who smoke to make a plan to quit.
- If you know a smoker who is giving up tobacco during the Smokeout, offer to give up something as well. Maybe cut out soda, coffee or sweets.
- Create a “survival” kit for the smoker who is trying to quit that can include hard candy, gum, straws to chew on and other items that mimic the act of smoking.
- Serve as a support person for someone who is trying to quit.
Quit Smoking Support
“If you’re supporting someone who is trying to quit, try to see the journey form their point of view,” Wolff added. “Try to avoid judging or criticizing the person who is in the process of trying to give up a very addictive habit.”
Other Do’s and Don’ts include:
DO serve as a distraction! Take them on a bike ride, a long walk, a hike or take in a movie.
DO help them remove anything that reminds them of their habit. Remove ashtrays, for example, and wash linens, blankets and anything else in their house that smells of smoke.
DO talk to the person who is trying to quit about your level of involvement. Can you check in regularly regarding their progress, and ask how they’re feeling? Tell the person who’s trying to quit that it’s OK to reach out to you whenever they need help.
DO stay positive and upbeat. Celebrate when they hit “quit smoking” milestones.
DON’T get annoyed by their likely very grumpy personality. Quitting smoking can make you depressed, anxious and irritable. Remind the person that these withdrawal symptoms are usually pretty bad during the first week, but often lessens over the next month.
DON’T offer advice. Ask how you can help and what kind of support they need.
Help To Quit Smoking
Lastly, there’s a slew of resources available for those who are trying to quit:
- American Cancer Society
- New York State Smokers’ Quitline
- Quit For Life – Available for many members of Excellus BlueCross BlueShield
- Health plans often cover patch, gum and other nicotine replacement products. The smoker should talk to their doctor about options.
“It’s hard to watch a friend or loved one go through so much as they try to kick a tough addiction,” Wolff said. “But showing your support is the first step you can take to help them quit.”