If you have ever tried to quit smoking, then you absolutely know how hard it can be and
what a big difference a little encouragement can make for your mood and outlook.
Trying to quit smoking takes a toll on everyone, but it’s a time when a true friend will
really be needed.
It will certainly be trying at times, so be prepared with this advice:
The Dos of Helping
As much as you want to be able to help your friend, everyone is different and you won’t
be able to be sure what will help your friend until you are actually trying:
• Do ask them how much help they would like from you.
Some people will be annoyed by help, while others rely on it.
If they say they don’t know, just promise them that you are ready to provide any type or degree
of help they need.
As you start to figure it out together, pay attention to their cues and signals to know when they
might just want to be left alone.
Don’t be afraid to flat out ask “Am I annoying you? Is this helpful?”
• Do be supportive, even when things aren’t going well.
Avoid saying anything judgmental and instead, help your friend find ways to recognize their
For example, if your friend feels bad that they caved and had a cigarette, remind them of how
well they were doing before, and that they can continue to succeed by quitting again after their
Also remind them that it’s normal to need a few tries before the quitting sticks.
Encourage them to download the My Last Cigarette app to show them how specifically they are
• Do step in to help with chores in any way that will take some of the stress off of
the quitting smoker.
Whether it’s helping out around the house or picking up the kids from school, anything that
decreases their overall stress is a good thing.
This might mean keeping their pantry stocked with tea and coffee, chopping up veggies or fruits
for a snack that they can consume in large quantities when they just want to be doing something
rewarding, keeping them distracted by taking them for a walk or to the movies, or removing
triggers around the house.
Remember to get rid of ashtrays and other signals and clean items that smell of smoke.
• Do remind others to be respectful and to avoid causing unnecessary temptation.
Make sure that no one, even if they say they are just joking, offers them a cigarette.
nicotine patches or electronic cigarettes.
In particular, electronic cigarettes are a good option for many people as they allow them to still
participate in the social aspect of smoking and it mimics the same actions that can be comforting
not a smoker.
Help them look around online for deals on cost-effective designs like the electronic cigarette
The Don’ts of Helping
It can be tough and sometimes feel counterintuitive, but there are lots of things you will need to avoid
if you really want to be helpful to your friend:
• Don’t allow yourself to sound judgmental or unsupportive.
For some people, this may mean adjusting your sense of humor until your friend is in a better place and
feeling less stressed and sensitive.
• Don’t take their bad moods personally.
This is completely normal during the quitting process.
Keep in mind that they’ve been using cigarettes to manage their stress for a long time.
Know when to leave them alone and when it would be helpful for them to go out and be distracted.
If you aren’t sure, just ask them.
If you’re worried about having to keep from smoking in front of them or if you’re worried you’re going
to look bad in front of someone who is quitting, just talk with them openly about it.
It will be much better if you say, “I’m worried about making you uncomfortable when I need to go out
and smoke,” than just avoiding them and slinking out of the room.
Consider coming up with a little signal so you can excuse yourself when necessary without having to make
it a big deal or potentially triggering.
With some close friends offering careful and kind support, the quitting process goes by much more quickly.
Be there for your friend, especially if they helped you when you needed to quit or you are thinking about
quitting in the future!
Have you helped a friend or family member quit smoking?
Share your suggestions, thoughts and comments with us.