How to help loved ones

Giving up smoking is hard, but supporting someone trying to quit isn’t easy either. Here are some ideas of ways you can help your loved ones stop smoking and see the benefits of leaving cigarettes behind

Create incentives

It’s human nature to want to be rewarded for hard work. Of course, the main reward for stopping smoking is that your loved one will be healthier, happier and richer. But it’s a nice idea to add something more to that. Set up a pact that if they quit smoking for a week, you’ll cook them a nice dinner. If they stop for a month, you’ll take them out for a meal. You could start a special ‘money jar’ where you both donate the cash that would have been spent on cigarettes, and promise to buy them a big present when they’ve given up for good.

Avoid temptation

If you’ve always enjoyed evenings with a friend or partner in a pub, it’s easy to think that’s the only way you can relax together. To help someone quit smoking though, you may need to change some of your social habits too. Think of other places you could meet, away from the old temptations that fuelled their habit, like being surrounded by other social smokers. How about going to the cinema, for a country walk, or even checking out an art exhibition? You’ll help your loved one avoid temptation, and you’ll both be doing new things in the process. Don’t forget to remove temptations at home too - ensure all ashtrays and lighters are out of the house.

Allow for bad moods

Lots of good things happen when you stop smoking, but in the short term quitters face challenges – giving up cigarettes will test their patience and willpower, and this might mean a few mood swings along the way. Accept it might be tough and your friend or partner’s moods might be a bit up and down for a while. Be understanding and keep them motivated by reminding them of all the positive benefits quitting smoking will bring, and (within reason!) let the odd grumpy mood slide and allow them a bit of slack if they snap more than normal.

Show your support

By deciding to quit smoking, your loved one is changing their lifestyle for the better - so why not inspire them to keep going? You can surprise them with treats to keep them motivated. Not only are you showing support in them stopping smoking but also giving them something to work towards.

Don’t judge

Of course you want your loved one to give up smoking, and you want to be there for them 100% of the way. Be careful that this support doesn’t edge over into over-bearing control though. If your partner slips up and has one cigarette from time to time, don’t judge them or tell them off. Accept that quitting is a long journey, and simply promise to stand by them every step of the way.