How to Support Someone When They Ditch Tobacco
Quitting tobacco can be rough. 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 any tobacco products 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.
Being a supportive friend, family member or coworker can make a big difference for someone trying to quit tobacco. Think about the person you are supporting, and the things you can do to help them.