Offering Support for Healthy Changes

How to Help Someone Quit Smoking

Is there a smoker in your life who you are hoping will quit? It is important to remember that you cannot make someone quit. A smoker will only quit when he or she is ready. The best thing you can do is to be there to offer support.

Do’s and Don’ts
Do set smoke-free areas in the home. Remove all ashtrays and lighters from those areas. With rules, smoking will take more effort, so the smokers in your life may decide to quit.

Do spend time together doing things like taking a walk or watching a movie. This will keep their mind off smoking.

Do celebrate success. When the person has quit for 1 week, 1 month, etc., plan something special or fun.

Do stay positive, even if they slip up and smoke. Quitting smoking is a very difficult bit to break.

Don’t nag, judge, or say something like, “You better quit or else…” Has nagging ever made you want to do anything? Instead, tell them you’re there to help if they need you.

Don’t think their mood swings are about you. Withdrawal symptoms are common and will go away.

Don’t doubt that they can quit. This may make the smoker feel worse.

Don’t give advice. Ask how you can help or support them.

Don’t give up. It may take many times before they quit for good.

When offering support for a loved one to quit smoking, it is important to remember that relapse is common. For most people, it take a lot more than one try at quitting the habit. The first two weeks are usually the hardest. There are three common reasons why people go back to smoking. The first is stress. The second is being around other smokers. The third is drinking alcohol. It can be hard when a loved one keeps smoking. For more information about free services offered by the California Smokers’ Helpline, please visit or call 1-800-NO-BUTTS.