Help Your Hero Quit

Someone trying to quit tobacco is more likely to be successful when they have a strong support network. Here’s where you come in. As a friend, spouse, coworker or family member, you can help someone you know quit tobacco and stay quit for good.

Help Your Hero Quit

Wherever the tobacco user is in their quit journey, learn how you can help at every step.

Check out the Supporting Others Fact Sheet [PDF 795KB] to learn more about how you can help someone you know quit tobacco for good.

If They Are Thinking About Quitting

Just making the choice to quit tobacco is difficult and very personal. At the very beginning of the journey, they are starting to think about why they should quit and why it may be difficult. To help someone you know who is thinking about quitting:

  • Offer encouragement, not pressure. If they say they are thinking about quitting or mention feeling sick from using tobacco, let them know why you’d like to see them quit. But remember, the journey and the reasons they quit are personal to them. Be careful not to push the issue in a way that could make them uncomfortable.
  • Don’t get frustrated if they don’t quit right away. The conversation to quit tobacco may start and stop a few times. Be patient and give them time to think. Don’t give up on them!

When They Are Preparing to Quit

In the days leading up to their quit date, use these tips to help them get ready to quit tobacco:

  • Learn what a quit plan is. They may be putting together a personal quit plan which can include the date they want to quit, what tactics they will use to manage cravings and how they plan to avoid triggers. Learn more about a quit plan so you know what they are talking about and can lend support if needed. Remember, a quit plan must be unique to each person so make sure they are the one taking the initiative and thinking carefully about what to include in their plan.
  • If they ask for resources, share them. Review our Tobacco Resources Guide [PDF 911KB] to learn more about the resources available for quitting tobacco. If they ask, let them know where they can look for resources that may be helpful in their quit journey.
  • Ask them how you can support them on their quit date. Offer to take them out for a tobacco free activity or be available by text or phone to talk them through their first day. But don’t be pushy; ask how you can help. Quitting is a personal journey, so they might say they don’t need anything. Let them know you’re available any time they need you (and mean it!).
  • Encourage them to tell other friends and family about their quit, if they’re comfortable with that. The bigger their support crew, the better.
  • Help them get rid of all tobacco products and accessories in their home and car including lighters, ash trays, dip cans, vape pods and empty cigarette packs. Help them clean thoroughly to remove any lingering smells. Feel free to clean your own stuff while you’re at it.
  • Research what to expect during the quit process. You can help them prepare for things like cravings and limiting weight gain [PDF 995KB].
  • Quit together. If you use tobacco too, make it a team effort so you can motivate and support each other throughout the process – maybe with a little friendly competition!

Actually Quitting

Quitting tobacco can cause tobacco cravings and may lead to some weight gain. There will be difficult moments and you can be there for your buddy to help them avoid a slip (using tobacco once or twice after they quit, but then returning to being tobacco free) or relapse (going back to using tobacco regularly after they quit).

  • Congratulate them on their hard work and help them develop a reward system for their quit. Rewards are not just for the big milestones – they’re also for making it past everyday obstacles.
  • Help them stay away from tobacco and triggers. If you use tobacco, don’t use in front of them. Also, don’t ask them if they want a cigarette or dip, or to join you in a designated tobacco use area. Seriously, not cool.
  • Suggest social activities that are tobacco free and won’t remind them of tobacco. Plan to get together at places where tobacco cannot be used.
  • Plan a workout or other physical activity to do together. Hit the gym, do some push-ups, go for a walk or find a hike nearby. Activity can limit weight gain and help them through cravings.
  • Help them find healthy distractions when they have cravings. Have low-calorie snacks on hand, offer to go for a quick walk or text them when they need support.
  • Be available to talk. Be there to talk about challenges, text about cravings or encourage them to use a Live Chat coach or texting program.
  • Get ready to be there for the long haul. Show them you still care and support them even if they are moody, agitated or discouraged. Changing an addictive behavior is a long and complicated process and a slip or relapse is not a sign of failure. It’s often part of the process, so just hang in there.

Helping Them Stay Quit

Most people need a few tries for a quit to stick. Stay in the support game with these tips.

  • Celebrate their success when they quit tobacco, especially at tobacco-free milestones. Find meaningful ways to show you are proud of their hard work and commitment.
  • Help them out after a slip or relapse. If they slip up (use tobacco once or twice), help them get back on track by reminding them why they quit in the first place. If they relapse (go back to using tobacco regularly after they quit), remind them this is normal, and it does not mean they can’t quit for good.
  • Talk with them about why quitting didn’t stick for them the first time, and see if there are ways you can be more helpful this time around. Suggest new tactics for getting through cravings or alternatives to moments where they would normally use tobacco, like managing stress [PDF 601KB].

To learn more about the quit process and what someone quitting tobacco can expect, visit our “How to Quit Tobacco” and “Stay Quit” sections.