Helping someone quit

There are many things you can do to help someone who is trying to quit smoking or vaping. Find out how you can help them decide to quit and support them along the way.

Helping someone decide to quit

It's hard to watch someone you care about smoke or vape when you know it’s damaging their health. However, people who smoke or vape need to decide to quit because they realise it will benefit them, not because someone else wants them to. They might quit for your sake, but they won't stay smoke- or vape-free unless they're also doing it for themselves.

You can still help them decide to quit, and support and encourage them once they have quit. Here are some strategies you can use and questions you can ask yourself.

If you are an ex-smoker or ex-vaper

  • Remember, the reasons and triggers that people have for smoking and vaping are different for everyone.
  • What helped you quit may not work for your friend or family member.
  • Encourage them to try different methods until they find what works best.

If you are a smoker or vaper

  • How can you influence someone else if you don't change your own smoking or vaping habits?
  • Are you willing to change too, either cut down or not smoke or vape in front of them?
  • Have you thought about joining them – it's easier when you have a quit buddy.

If you have never smoked or vaped

  • Learn about addiction to nicotine, and understand that quitting can be very difficult, especially in the early days.
  • People who smoke or vape often feel conflicted about their addiction – they may want to quit, but part of them may also want to keep smoking or vaping. Be sympathetic.
  • Don't become involved in arguments about smoking or vaping – disagreements only make people who smoke or vape more defensive and more likely to insist on their right to keep on smoking or vaping.

Show that you care

Helping someone succeed

If you want to make sure you're helping, not hindering, follow these tips.

Be positive

If your friend or family member slips-up, encourage them to put it behind them and focus on the reasons why they want to quit. If they go back to full-time smoking or vaping, remember that most people make several attempts before they are able to quit completely.

Every attempt is a step in the right direction and will make it easier for them to stop next time around. Being critical, however, can put them off trying again.

Be supportive

Plan how you can offer practical help. For example, you could:

  • help them avoid tempting situations, like pubs or parties
  • suggest activities that are smoke- and vape-free such as dinner at a restaurant, going to the movies, or a play
  • join them in some exercise- such as going for a walk or swim or playing sports.

Be around

Sometimes, a person who's trying not to smoke or vape just needs someone to talk to. Listen to what they have to say, without commenting and remember, it's not about you.

Learn more about supporting young people who vape.

Find more tips on helping someone to quit on the Quit website.

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