The decision to quit smoking must be made by the person who smokes, for their own reasons and in their own time. You can’t do it for them. While pressure from friends or family rarely works, there are ways you can help make their quitting process a little easier.
Tips for family and friends
Before they quit
- Let your friend/family member know you understand that quitting is their decision. Let them know you care about them no matter what they decide to do. Allow them to choose their own quit date.
- Tell them you care about their health and if they want, will help them quit when they are ready.
- Find out what quit resources are available in your community. Let your friend know you have the information when they are ready to use it.
- If they mention quitting, tell them you know they can do it.
- Call the pan-Canadian, toll-free quitline at 1-866-366-3667 to find other ways to help.
While they are quitting
- Be understanding. Learn about nicotine addiction and withdrawal symptoms. Be sympathetic of their moods when they are trying to quit. At times they may want help or to talk about their success. At other times they may want to be left alone.
- Ask what you can do. They may want you to distract them, encourage them, keep them away from temptations, or simply listen.
- Listen. Respect what they are feeling and listen without judging or offering advice.
- Offer rewards. You may offer to do something nice for them if they succeed with short- or long-term goals. But be sensitive to their wants and needs, as this can make some people feel bad if they do not succeed right away.
- Be sensitive. If they slip or relapse back to smoking, don’t try to make them feel guilty or ashamed. Let them know that you understand that quitting is hard. Encourage them to keep on trying. Tell them you will help when they’re ready to try again.
- Be there. Most of all, remember they are your friend or family member first and a smoker second. Show them that you believe in and care for them, whether they smoke or not.
If you smoke, avoid smoking around your friend or family member and encourage them on their quit journey. Better yet, quit with them! If you need help, call the pan-Canadian, toll-free quitline at 1-866-366-3667, or visit the quit smoking website for your province or territory.
- On the Road to Quitting (a guide to quitting for adults)
- Quit4Life (a guide to quitting for youth under 19 years old)
- Make your home and car smoke-free: a guide to protecting your family from second-hand smoke
Tips for parents
If your child smokes, talk to them about quitting.
- Let them know how you feel about their smoking. Speak to them with respect and let them know they are capable of making responsible decisions.
- Ask them to tell you their thoughts about smoking. Ask why they smoke, the pressures they feel to smoke, and whether they’ve ever thought about quitting. Ask them what it would take to stop and how you could be supportive. Mention the benefits of quitting.
- Explain that there are other ways to express their individuality, like their choice of interests and hobbies, clothes, music, and television shows.
- Point out the high cost of smoking and how the money would be spent on other interests.
- Discuss the rewards they could obtain by quitting. For example, they might save money. Let them come up with their own ideas.
- Quit4Life, the proven 4-step guide to quitting for youth under 19 years old
- Help your child stay smoke-free: A guide to protecting your child against tobacco use