How to help a loved one quit smoking

December 11, 2020 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health

Smoking is an addictive habit that can be difficult to break.

So, when your loved one decides to quit, your support plays an important part in their success. It will take time for the cravings to fade and there may be a few slip-ups, but you can help keep your loved one focused on the end goal of a healthier lifestyle by celebrating the positive steps along the way.

“Remember to keep focused on the positive, small wins,” says Julia Afridi, DO, Medical Director of Integrative Medicine at Edward-Elmhurst Health. “Think positive and focus on those times they do well so they maintain that positive frame of mind toward making that change for better.”

The American Cancer Society and SmokeFree.Gov have a helpful tips for friends and family of a person trying to quit smoking. Here are some ways you can support your loved one:

  1. Spend time with your loved one to keep their mind off smoking. Exercise together, go for a walk or cook a healthy meal together.

  2. Clean house. It’s not just the cigarettes that need to go. Help your loved one get rid of anything, such as lighters and ash trays, that reminds them of smoking and wash or clean any clothing or household items, like drapes or carpeting, that smell like cigarette smoke.

  3. Talk and listen. Ask your loved one if they want you to ask them regularly how they are doing or how they’re feeling. Let them tell you what they’ll need in this journey and listen to them as they talk about how they’re feeling.
  4. Make your home smoke-free. Remember, you have a loved one who is trying to quit smoking. Don’t tempt them by allowing others to smoke in your home.

  5. Thank the person who is quitting for not exposing others to second-hand smoke.

  6. Celebrate. Quitting smoking takes a lot of effort. Celebrate the small wins along the way.
  7. Understand. Quitting takes time and there may be some setbacks along the way. Instead of arguing about a slip-up, encourage your loved one. Remind them of their goal and the progress they’ve made. If your loved one relapses, remind them that they haven’t failed, they’re just learning how to quit. Let them know you will support them the next time they try.

If you have a loved one who smokes and want to encourage them to quit smoking, look for a way to bring up the topic, but don’t nag. Try asking if they’ve thought about quitting, ask about health concerns related to smoking or the expense of smoking.

Edward-Elmhurst Health offers acupuncture to help people quit smoking. This method helps lower stress and other factors that could feed into the addictive behavior, Afridi says. For more information about this, contact the Integrative Medicine Clinic.

As soon as you quit smoking, your body begins to repair itself. Learn what happens after you quit smoking.

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