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.
Check out the fact sheet Supporting Others During a Quit [PDF 569KB].