Helping a smoker quit: do’s and don’ts

September 14, 2009
Most smokers struggle to give up cigarettes.

You, as a family member or friend, can help out by following these tips from the American Cancer Society:

Do respect that the quitter is in charge. This is their lifestyle change and their challenge, not yours.

Do help the quitter get what she or he needs, such as hard candy to suck on, straws to chew on, and fresh veggies cut up and kept cold in the refrigerator.

Do spend time doing things with the quitter to keep his or her mind off smoking – go to the movies, take a walk to get past a craving (what many call a “nicotine fit”), or take a bike ride together.

Don’t judge, nag, preach or scold. This may make the smoker feel worse about him or herself. You don’t want your friend to turn to a cigarette to soothe hurt feelings.

Don’t take the quitter’s grumpiness personally during his or her nicotine withdrawal. The symptoms usually pass in about two weeks.

Do celebrate along the way. Quitting smoking is a BIG DEAL!

Reprinted by the permission of the American Cancer Society, Inc. from www.cancer.org. All rights reserved.


Carolina Public Health is a publication of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health. To view previous issues, please visit www.sph.unc.edu/cph.