When a longtime smoker declares their desire to quit, it can be an exciting time for those who wish to see them live a healthier lifestyle. But remember that your quitter may be feeling a mix of emotions about quitting, some positive, and some negative. As a supporter, it’s crucial to listen to your quitter’s needs and encourage them to proceed at their own pace. Respect that your quitter is leading their quit journey, and you’re there to support them along the way. Start by simply asking, “How can I help you?”
While you may be in a supporting role, don’t underestimate the impact you can make. In a recent survey of 146 adult smokers who were trying to quit, 80 percent said that support from others was very important for their quitting success. To help be the best supporter you can be, read on to learn about three different forms of quit smoking support.
A major challenge of quitting smoking is managing urges to smoke. Help your quitter resist these urges by having something other than cigarettes to keep their mouth busy. Alternatives include toothpicks, sugar-free lollipops, chewing gum and hard candies, or crunchy, healthy snacks. Make a Quit Kit with these items for your quitter, or keep one handy when you’re with them to show your dedication to their well-being.
Simply being with your quitter during moments when they desire a cigarette can also be beneficial. Though the urge to smoke usually passes within 3 to 5 minutes, your presence may help distract and comfort your quitter during those difficult times. As their lung capacity improves and they get less winded, invite your quitter to go for walks or toss a ball around. Being there as they overcome challenges will encourage your quitter to keep it up.
When your quitter gives up cigarettes, they may experience nicotine withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, frustration and irritability. Don’t take their moods personally; instead, be a source of positive support. If they want to talk about their feelings, be a good listener. Remind them that these symptoms will fade with time, and the benefits of quitting make the effort worth it.
During the quit smoking journey, your quitter may get discouraged with the process. If they have a slip, help them get back on their feet and focused on their goal of a smokefree life. Encourage your quitter to make a plan to deal with urges to prevent future slips.
Your quitter will also have milestones to celebrate during their journey, such as one-week, one-month or six-months smokefree. Recognize these successes as notable milestones for your quitter! A little praise can make a big difference. You can also surprise them with a card, a home-cooked meal or tickets to see their favorite band in concert.
Some smokers cite the costs of quit smoking treatment as a barrier to using them. In a survey sponsored by the American Lung Association and Pfizer involving 483 adult smokers in the US, 78 percent said that quit smoking treatments or aids are too expensive. If money is a concern for your quitter, you can help them set up a Quit Fund. A Quit Fund is an online fundraising tool to help pay for expenses during their quit smoking journey such as doctor’s visits, exercise classes, or healthy groceries. By contributing to their fund, you’re showing that you’re invested in their positive life change. Your quitter’s other friends, family members and coworkers can donate to the Quit Fund as well.
Together, your support will add up, covering some of the costs during their quit journey. Or maybe your quitter will use their Quit Fund to plan a smokefree celebration! No matter what they use their quit fund for, your quitter will be filled with gratitude for your generosity and foresight.
Quitting smoking is a challenging journey. But your support can make a difference during this journey. Whether its handing your quitter a sugar-free candy at the right moment or asking them “how are you feeling?” after a tough day, your thoughtful support can help your quitter stay focused on their quit smoking goals. To learn more about ways you can help someone quit smoking, visit the For Supporters section of QuittersCircle.com.