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Helping a Smoker Quit.

General hints for friends and family

Do respect that the quitter is in charge. This is their lifestyle change and their challenge, not yours. Do ask the person whether they want you to ask regularly how theyre doing. Ask how theyre feeling not just whether theyve stayed quit. Do let the person know that its OK to talk to you whenever they need to hear encouraging words. Do help the quitter get what they need, such as hard candy to suck on, straws to chew on, and fresh veggies cut up and kept in the refrigerator. Do spend time doing things with the quitter to keep their 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. Do try to see it from the smokers point of view a smokers habit may feel like an old friend that has always been there when times were tough. Its hard to give that up. Do make your home smoke free, meaning that no one can smoke in any part of the house. Remove lighters and ash trays from your home. Do help the quitter with a few chores, some child care, cooking whatever will help lighten the stress of quitting. Do celebrate along the way. Quitting smoking is a BIG DEAL! Dont doubt the smokers ability to quit. Your faith in them reminds them they can do it. Dont judge, nag, preach, tease, or scold. This may make the smoker feel worse about him or herself. You dont want your loved one to turn to a cigarette to soothe hurt feelings. Dont take the quitters grumpiness personally during their nicotine withdrawal. Tell them that you understand the symptoms are real and remind them that they wont last forever. The symptoms usually get better in about 2 weeks. Dont offer advice. Just ask how you can help with the plan or program they are using.

If your ex-smoker slips

Dont assume that they will start back smoking like before. A slip (taking a puff or smoking a cigarette or 2) is pretty common when a person is quitting. Do remind the quitter how long they went without a cigarette before the slip.

Do help the quitter remember all the reasons they wanted to quit, and help them forget about the slip as soon as possible. Dont scold, tease, nag, blame, or make the quitter feel guilty. Be sure the quitter knows that you care about them whether or not they smoke.

If your quitter relapses

Research shows that most people try to quit smoking several times before they succeed. (Its called a relapse when smokers go back to smoking like they were before they tried to quit.) If a relapse happens, think of it as practice for the time. Dont give up your efforts to encourage and support your loved one. If the person you care about fails to quit or starts smoking again: Do praise them for trying to quit, and for whatever length of time (days, weeks, or months) of not smoking. Do remind your loved one that they didnt fail they are learning how to quit and youre going to be there for them the next time. Do encourage them to try again. Dont say, If you try again... Say, When you try again... Studies show that most people who dont succeed in quitting are ready to try again in the near future. Do encourage them to learn from the attempt. Things a person learns from a failed attempt to quit may help them quit for good next time. It takes time and skills to learn to be a non-smoker. Do say, Its normal to not succeed the first few times you try to quit. Most people understand this, and know that they have to try to quit again. You didnt smoke for (length of time) this time. Now you know you can do that much. You can get even further next time.

If you are a smoker

Do smoke outside and always away from the quitter. Do keep your cigarettes, lighters, and matches out of sight. They might be triggers for your loved one to smoke. Dont ever offer the quitter a smoke, even as a joke! Do join your loved one in their effort to quit. Its better for your health and might be easier to do with someone else who is trying to quit, too. Call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345 to find out what resources might be available to help the person you love quit and stay quit.

More information from your American Cancer Society

Here is more information you might find helpful. You also can order free copies of our documents from our toll-free number, 1-800-227-2345, or read them on our Web site, www.cancer.org.
More about quitting

Guide to Quitting Smoking (also in Spanish) Improve Your Chances of Quitting Smoking Helping a Smoker Quit: Dos and Donts
Smoking and health

Questions About Smoking, Tobacco, and Health (also in Spanish) Cigarette Smoking (also in Spanish) Cigar Smoking (also in Spanish) Tobacco-Related Cancers Fact Sheet The American Cancer Society also has books that you might find helpful. Call us at 1-800-2272345 or visit our bookstore online at cancer.org to find out about costs or to place an order. Kicking Butts No Thanks, but Id Love to Dance: Choosing to Live Smoke-Free (for kids ages 4-10) Reduce Your Cancer Risk: Twelve Steps to a Healthier Life

National organizations and Web sites*

If you are trying to quit smoking and need help, contact the American Cancer Society or one of these other sources of information and support: Nicotine Anonymous (NicA) Toll-free number: 1-877-879-6422 (1-877-TRY-NICA) Web site: www.nicotine-anonymous.org Has quit-smoking information in many languages; also has a list of 12-step NicA meetings worldwide for face-to-face peer support and information on how to start a group in your area QuitNet Web site: www.quitnet.com Offers free, cutting edge, services to people trying to quit tobacco, including 24/7 online support

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Office on Smoking and Health Toll-free smoking cessation line: 1-800-784-8669 (1-800-QUIT-NOW) TTY: 1-800-332-8615 Online help for quitting: www.cdc.gov/tobacco/quit_smoking/how_to_quit/index.htm Free phone-based coaching that can help you quit smoking; Web site also links to other online quitting resources National Cancer Institute Toll-free number: 1-800-422-6237 (1-800-4-CANCER) for cancer information Web page: www.cancer.gov Tobacco quit line: 1-800-784-8669 (1-800-QUIT-NOW) Smoking cessation online: www.smokefree.gov Has a lot of quitting information, tools to help you quit, and offers free live support. Go to smokefree.gov to sign up for SmokefreeTXT. This service provides 24/7 encouragement, advice, and tips to help you stop smoking for good. American Heart Association Toll-free number: 1-800-242-8721 (1-800-AHA-USA-1) Web site: www.americanheart.org Has tips for how to quit smoking and why you should do it at www.everydaychoices.org or by calling 1-866-399-6789
*Inclusion on this list does not imply endorsement by the American Cancer Society.

No matter who you are, we can help. Contact us anytime, day or night, for information and support. Call us at 1-800-227-2345 or visit www.cancer.org.

ACS Great American Smokeout Promotion Guide, Nov. 16, 1989. American Cancer Society. Kicking Butts: Quit Smoking and Take Charge of Your Health 2nd Ed. Atlanta, GA. American Cancer Society, 2010. National Cancer Institute. How To Handle Withdrawal Symptoms and Triggers When You Decide To Quit Smoking. Accessed at www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Tobacco/symptoms-triggers-quitting on October 3, 2012. Tobacco Control Research Branch of the National Cancer Institute. Stress and Smoking. Accessed at www.smokefree.gov/topic-stress.aspx on October 3, 2012.