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Posted by: Fauquier News Flash on 08/10/2016

Help Someone Quit Smoking

Help Someone Quit Smoking


Once a smoker decides to quit, he or she is more likely be successful if family, friends and co-workers give help and support.


If your friend has not yet fully made up their mind to quit, try and see it from their side. For most smokers, cigarettes have been a steady friend for a long time. Some reluctance is normal and it doesn't mean your friend won't be able to quit for good.


First, let your friend know you understand their doubts and then suggest that he or she list their reasons for quitting. Encourage setting a target quit date and offer to help in any way needed. Be sure to tell your friend to contact their local American Lung Association for lots of help quitting and staying quit.


How Do You Begin?

Get tips on what you can do from the start to help your friend quit and stay quit.


Tips for Helping a Smoker Quit

  • Tell your friend that you think he or she can succeed this time, even if he or she has tried to quit before and failed. We encourage smokers to think of those past tries as "practice quits" and to learn from them as they plan their next quit attempt.


  • For the first few days after the smoker quits, be ready to help. He or she may just want to talk, or your friend may want extra help when a tough situation arises, such as a party, or a crisis at home or work.


  • Offer to call or visit to check on them.Ask how your friend is feeling, not just whether or not they are still off cigarettes.


  • No nagging, scolding or preaching—that just doesn't work. Instead, let your friend know how much you admire them for trying to quit.


  • Give lots of praise and offer rewards for getting through a day, a week or a month without smoking. Rewards can be simple—flowers, a lunch treat, or even doing a chore for your friend around the house or office.


  • Give rewards right away. For example, let your friend watch his or her favorite TV show while you do the dishes. Giving rewards right away works better than promising rewards for the future.


  • Remind your friend to do some deep breathing if they feel tense. Breathing in and out slowly brings more air into the lungs, which will help your friend relax.


  • Do things together; go to a movie or take a walk. Stay away from places where other people may be smoking.



Meeting Challenges Along the Way

Withdrawal, weight gain and urges are some challenges that might come up. 


Gaining Weight

Some smokers gain weight when they stop smoking, but the average is only seven to 10 pounds. Even with this weight gain, they will be much better off health-wise than they would be if they continued to smoke. Balancing the right amount and variety of foods with physical activity is the best way to control weight during the quitting process. Some things you can do to help:


  • Offer low-fat snacks such as carrots, fresh fruit, plain popcorn or sugarless gum.


  • Do active things together where smoking doesn't fit in. Swimming, jogging or brisk walking are great choices.


Handling Urges to Smoke

People who succeed in quitting are often the ones who plan how to cope with smoking urges. Encourage your friend by helping him or her think up some simple things to do when an urge to smoke arises. Your friend might:

  • Call you when he or she feels the urge to smoke. Remind your friend that the urge will pass in just a few minutes, whether they smoke a cigarette or not!


  • Leave the situation that makes your friend want to smoke. For example, being at a party where alcohol is served may make your friend want a cigarette. When the urge arises, they could walk around the block or better yet, stay away from parties and alcohol for the first few weeks.


Withdrawal Symptoms

Many smokers have withdrawal symptoms during the first few weeks after they quit. Some common ones are:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Feeling anxious or restless


Your friend also may be grouchy, irritable, nervous or pushy. Tell your friend you know that these symptoms are real, but that they will not last. They will go away as their body rids itself of nicotine. A week or two may seem like a long time when you're not feeling well, but it will get better.



Outlasting Your Friend's Addiction


Your friend is trying to break an addiction to cigarettes that may have started in his or her teens. Be prepared for some unfriendly or even nasty behavior; your friend is going through a tough time. Even if they're acting badly, tell them you still care and do what you can to help. Remember, you're doing a great thing by helping a friend.The bad times won't last long, but the benefits of quitting last forever.


Encourage your friend to talk about how he or she is feeling and listen to what they say. Give your undivided attention. Laugh at jokes, and praise as often as you can.


Ask your friend to tell you when he or she is doing okay. That way you can feel good about their progress.



Be There for the Long Run


Quitting smoking is a journey, not a single event. You can help someone throughout that journey until they are able to quit for good.

Help Your Friend Make a Plan

Smokers can get help from the American Lung Association Lung HelpLine at 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872). The trained hotline staff can suggest lots of ways to quit smoking and to stay quit. For example:

  • How to set a quit date.
  • Building social support.
  • Learning how to relax and control weight.
  • Planning how to deal with urges to smoke.
  • Nicotine medication products, such as nicotine gum, skin patches, nasal spray, oral inhalers, and non-nicotine medications buproprion hydrochloride (Zyban®) and varenicline (Chantix®), help relieve physical symptoms when trying to quit. These products should not be used by pregnant or nursing women. People with other medical conditions should consult their physicians before using these medications.


How Long Do You Need to Help?


The first seven to 10 days are the toughest, and your friend may need the most help during this time. Most smokers who return to smoking do so within the first three months, so try to keep in close touch for at least that long.


"Slips" (having a puff or smoking one or two cigarettes) are pretty common. If your friend has slipped, remind them of all the good reasons to stay quit. Praise all your friend's nonsmoking efforts, and remind them that a "slip" does not mean they're a smoker again. As long as they keep trying and don't give up, they will be able to quit for good.


Former smokers may encounter an urge to smoke months or even years after they quit. This is normal. Remind your friend that such urges will occur less often over time and they'll eventually stop completely.


You deserve a lot of credit for helping someone overcome their addiction. Your help can make the difference. Most people who are able to stop smoking are the ones who get help and encouragement from family, friends and co-workers.


If Your Friend Starts Smoking Again


Forget about blame or guilt. Your friend is really still learning how to quit - they are not failing. Remind your friend about how well he or she did during the time without cigarettes. Each time someone tries to quit is a step forward. Help figure out what led to the relapse and make a plan for what they'll do differently next time. The best thing to say to your friend is, "Good try! I still care about you and will help you until you quit smoking for good."


Try to feel good about all your efforts to help.You can prepare together for the next time your friend tries to quit smoking.


Additional Resources


Suggest that your friend contact their local American Lung Association and ask about the many Freedom From Smoking® resources.These include:

  • Freedom From Smoking® group clinics
  • Freedom From Smoking® Online
  • Freedom From Smoking® Self-Help Guide - a detailed guide that takes you through the process of quitting day by day
  • Smoking and pregnancy information
  • And don't forget to call the Lung HelpLine at 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) for more assistance!

Employer Wellness Programs

The American Lung Association recognizes the need for lung wellness and smoking cessation programs for the business environment. To meet this employer need, we offer a number of programs for businesses and managed care providers. Contact us at 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872)  to learn how we can customize our tobacco cessation program, Freedom from Smoking®, for your business.


Is there someone you want to help quit smoking?


Consider giving them the gift of a membership to the Premium version of Freedom From Smoking Online.



www.Fauquier411.com & Fauquier News Flash Want to Keep Fauquier County Safe!



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