Quitting smoking is not an easy task . This is especially true for smokers who, at one time or another, have tried to stop smoking, whether they succeeded or not. Smoking is a very frequent addiction, which leads many people who suffer from it to try different techniques to help them stop smoking.

But the people around us, can we help them? Do you know anyone who’s quitting? Or are you the one trying? In this article we will learn 10 effective techniques or strategies on how to help a person who is quitting smoking.

How to help a person who is quitting smoking

We can help a person in the midst of tobacco detoxification in many ways, although it is certain that only they can achieve this, on their own, if they really have the necessary motivation and apply the appropriate effort. We are going to learn 10 useful tips on how to help a person who is quitting smoking .

1. Positive reinforcement

One strategy we can use on how to help a person who is quitting smoking is to react positively when the person does not smoke when he or she would like to , or when he or she makes some kind of comment related to the benefits of not smoking. We can praise their behaviour, reinforcing it, encouraging them to continue on this path and valuing their efforts.

2. Offer support

Another technique we can use is to offer support to that person at all times, especially when they need it. He should know that we are there to help him and to prevent him from relapsing, as far as possible. We can do this through actions (not smoking when he/she is in front of us, in case we are also smokers), through gestures, words, etc.

The goal is to help you stay motivated and not feel alone. It is essential that he feels that we can understand him, and that we are aware that he is going through a hard time.

3. No smoking in front of you

In relation to the previous technique, we find this one already mentioned, but we are going to develop it further. A person who smokes, and who is getting rid of the addiction, will feel a great temptation when other people in front of him smoke. To avoid that temptation, we can stop smoking when it is present.

In a way, is an act of solidarity and empathy . This is advisable to apply in the first moments of the “unhitching”; however, it is also good that in time, that person can get used to being in environments where people around him or her smoke, and that he or she still doesn’t. This will strengthen their release.

4. Speaking

Another way to offer support is to talk about it whenever the other person needs it . Through the conversations, we can reinforce their decision to stop smoking, making them see the importance of their decision and the reasons why it is advisable not to smoke (although they probably already know them); this will reinforce their decision and also make them more aware of the negative aspects of smoking.

It will also be important to listen to the other person, letting him or her explain their feelings and emotions. However, it is also not good to be “always” talking about tobacco; we should encourage moments of disconnection from the subject.

5. Do not judge

Whether we believe that it is a good choice to stop smoking or not, whether we are smokers or not, it is good that we do not judge the other person’s decision to stop smoking ; moreover, we should respect his or her decision whether we see the other person capable of achieving absolute abstinence or not.

It will be important to keep comments that imply a mockery, a judgment, a negative aspect or a lack of motivation for him/her.

6. Do not lecture / scold

In line with the above, another way related to how to help a person who is quitting smoking, is not to scold him/her as if he/she were a small child, as it is likely that this person is an adult , and that you scold him/her more than help him/her, make him/her angry or hinder his/her quitting.

In other words, we should not act as teachers or parents, but as friends, based on respect and common sense.

7. Empathize

As we have seen, although it may seem an easy decision or a simple path, the fact of deciding to give up tobacco, and to start this new course, is not at all simple. Let us remember that this is an addiction, and not just a whim. That is why we must empathize with the other person, both in good times and in times of relapse.

This implies understanding that you may be irritable in “monkey” moments, for example . In the end, that person must feel that understanding; if he also feels that we can understand him, he will feel more sheltered and stronger.

8. Be positive

When we surround ourselves with positive people, our mood improves . If this person is having a really bad time and has people around him or her who encourage him or her, who try to see the positive side of things, this can help to improve his or her optimism and make him or her feel capable of achieving success, achieving and maintaining abstinence.

That is, fortunately sometimes positivism is contagious, and it is clear that a person who is constantly negative will only harm the person who is quitting.

9. Encourage distraction

Another strategy on how to help a person who is quitting smoking is to try to get the other person to stop thinking so much about tobacco and about the “monkey” of smoking (abstinence syndrome), by proposing plans and activities to do together.

Doing other things and keeping your mind busy will prevent you from focusing on desire and the urge to smoke, by keeping these kinds of thoughts and feelings away. These activities can be something as simple as taking a walk, going for a coffee, going to the cinema, playing sports, etc.

10. Encourage her to do things

Finally, the last piece of advice on how to help a person who is quitting smoking has to do with his or her new energy or mood.

We can take advantage of these moments to encourage her to go out, to continue with that healthy lifestyle , and to take advantage of her new energetic state. We should approach it as a new way of enjoying that she should take advantage of.

Bibliographic references:

  • Arias, A.C. (2005) How to help patients stop smoking? Research and Education in Nursing.

  • Bello, S., Flores, A., Bello, M. and Chamorro, H. (2009). Diagnosis and psychosocial treatment of smoking. Chilean Journal of Respiratory Diseases, 25(4): 218-230.

  • Simon, S. (2019). How to help a person stop smoking. American Cancer Society.