If you’re worried about a friend or relative who smokes, you need to talk to them carefully. Not all smokers are ready to quit smoking.
Reminding them about the health risks of smoking can sometimes make things worse. They might feel like you’re judging them.
Instead, tell the person that you’re concerned but will support them if they give up smoking or not. Many people find giving up smoking hard. But they can do it with the right support and information.
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Deciding to quit
Ask the smoker to write down the reasons they like smoking and the reasons they do not like it. Ask what their concerns about quitting are. Show them the information about the Quit Programme and how it can help.
If the smoker decides they’re not ready to quit yet, respect their decision. Tell them you’ll support them when they decide to try.
Getting ready to stop smoking
When the person decides they want to quit, help them and encourage them to plan how they are going to quit.
You can encourage them to:
- sign up for a Quit plan and start a smoking diary - this helps them to understand where and when they most feel like smoking and plan how to manage situations without smoking
- learn about cravings and withdrawal symptoms - they’re easier to cope with when you know what to expect
- find out about prescription treatments or nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) that can help them quit
- set a date to quit smoking and stick to it - suggest picking a date when they’re not under too much pressure
- get as much help as possible from friends, family and colleagues
- contact the HSE Quit team to ask about free stop smoking services in their area
Remind them that you are there to support them and that the health benefits of quitting begin immediately.
After they quit smoking
Keep giving your help and support after the person quits smoking. This will increase their chances of success.
To continue to support them, you can:
- tell them to take it one day at a time and reward themselves throughout the quitting process
- encourage them to do regular physical activity - this helps them to deal with withdrawal symptoms, avoid weight gain and improve their mood
- remind them to look after themselves - to get plenty of sleep and eat well
- arrange social activities in places where they cannot smoke
- give them lots of praise and encouragement to keep up their morale
- be patient and understand that they will have the occasional bad mood
- remind them about the benefits of giving up - each day without smoking is better for their health
- suggest they save the money they would have spent on smoking and use it to treat themselves instead - the savings calculator shows how much they could save