10 Ways to Help Your Best Friend Quit

by Dr Antonio Howell, MD

in quit smoking

Dr. Howell

You might ask – can I really help someone quit?


Definitely yes. Once a smoker decides to quit, support from family and friends is important. Smoking cessation comes with challenging withdrawal symptoms. It has ups and downs too. Being there beside your friend to help him avoid smoking triggers and cheer him up when he is down are few of the many things you can do to making quitting smoking fast and easy. Now, even if he doesn’t like to quit, you can still encourage him to stop by giving him many reasons to do so. Offering help in any way you can is one way to save someone’s life from early death due to smoking.


Here are things you can do to help your best friend, relative, or any other person quit:


  1. Ask how you can help. Remember this – each smoker is different. So make sure to ask your friend how you can be of help. Not every smoking cessation method will work for everybody and an incorrect approach might just cause him to get hooked even further.
  2. Be there, especially during the first couple of days. The first day of quitting smoking could be tremendously hard for your friend. Your goal is to help him resist the urge by keeping him busy. Maybe your friend feels very low and he wants someone to talk to. Be that person!
  3. Please, don’t nag. When you’re helping someone quit, refrain from nagging, preaching or scolding. Remember that smokers know what they are doing. Even before they started lighting up, they already know that smoking is bad for their health and it could kill them. So please, don’t try saying these things over and over again. They know it, just like you. But unlike you, they are addicted to nicotine and that’s the big difference. Even though they really wanted to because probably they are concerned about their health, they just couldn’t stop.
  4. Check on him either through phone or email. Of course, you also have lots of things to do that you may not always be there for your friend all the time. But don’t ever make him feel alone. Call him, send a message, or email him. When you do, you just don’t ask how the smoking cessation period has been. Just ask him how he’s feeling. Don’t be too obvious. Again, your friend knows it.
  5. Give rewards. You may not be the richest person in the world to offer great rewards but you can give your friend some nice treats that will make him feel even more motivated. These can be a card, a discount coupon at his favorite store, a movie ticket, etc. Make sure you give the rewards on time. Don’t make false promises. You know how it feels.
  6. Encourage him to exercise. When you do, don’t reason out that he needs it to quit easily. Just tell him it’s for a change. Or maybe, he’s gaining extra pounds so you wanted him to go out with the gym with you.
  7. Take him out from pubs and smoke bars. You want to help your friend avoid his smoking triggers. Taking him to restaurants and bars where smoking is allowed could spoil all his efforts to quit. There are many recreational areas that employ smoking ban.
  8. Talk about it. There is a perfect place and a perfect timing for this. When that moment comes, talk about his options. Ask if he thinks he would do better if he is going to seek professional help or if he wants to take medications to suppress the withdrawal symptoms.
  9. Give him self-help books. There are many self-help books about quitting smoking that have saved millions of lives from the negative effects of tobacco use.
  10. Don’t give up. You are in the same battle with your best friend. At times, you will feel distressed, upset or disappointed because he still lights up. But remember he’s been doing it for years and simply stopping is not that easy. Just continue doing the above steps and when you feel down, go back to this number.

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