Quitting smoking is hard. There is no doubt about it. And if there’s one thing you can do for a friend trying to quit smoking – it is helping them quit to the extent of your capacity. Smokers wanting to quit need encouragement – not criticism. This doesn’t mean however, that you have to decide for them. It is them who have to make the decision to stay smoke-free.
Communicate. Talk to your friend. Ask him or her how you can help. By offering your hand, it’s like an assurance that he or she is not alone in this journey. It is not enough that you communicate. Listen to his or her thoughts, fears, hesitations, and doubts about quitting smoking, and everything that might be holding him or her back. This way, you can help him or her find the answers.
Acknowledge and understand the complexity of quitting smoking. Only by understanding and acknowledging the difficulties of quitting that you can truly ponder how to help your friend quit smoking. You need to understand that there are two important aspects of nicotine addiction that your friend has to address to be able to quit successfully – the physical and psychological addiction. By knowing and understanding these aspects that you can truly offer your help.
Encourage, encourage, and encourage. Your friend has to go through many things. He would even experience several relapse before he can finally quit. As a friend, encourage him.
Encourage him or her to join a support group. No one can help your friend better than those who were on his or her shoes before. The members of quit smoking support groups are usually volunteers who are former smokers, and advocates who have expertise in smoking cessation programs. These support groups usually have the resources and proficiency to help your friend quit smoking for good.
Encourage him or her to live an active and healthy lifestyle. You can join marathons together, go biking, or get a new hobby you both enjoy like jogging in the park every morning.
Encourage him or her even if he starts smoking again. Giving up smoking is not something you do overnight and there is no guarantee that you’ll be able to do it successfully in your first try. Tell your friend that some people even tried so many times before they finally quit smoking.
Avoid taking him or her to places where smoking is allowed. It might trigger your friend’s craving to smoke, putting your friend’s and your effort to waste. It is better that you keep him or her away from the things that can remind him or her of smoking.
Acknowledge and celebrate your friend’s success. Praise him for not smoking in a week, or treat him or her for a dinner after a month without cigarette. Acknowledging your friend’s effort can enforce his or her determination to quit smoking.
Quitting smoking is very difficult. But it becomes easier if you have someone who accompanies you in your journey towards a nicotine-free life.