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Supporting Your Loved One on the Journey to Quit Smoking

You can help a loved one quit smoking by being patient, helping them find support programs, helping them manage their triggers, and spending time with them.

Nearly 70%Trusted Source of adult smokers in 2015 said they wanted to quit smoking, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

However, a much smaller percentage of smokers were successful. For some people, it can take multiple attempts to finally quit.

You play a greater role in a loved one’s ability to quit smoking than you might realize. Support can help them on their smoking cessation journey.

Keep reading to learn more about the ways you can help a loved one quit smoking.

Be patient as they manage withdrawal symptoms

A loved one may experience physical and emotional symptoms when they stop smoking. This is known as withdrawal. It occurs because the body has developed a dependence on nicotine.

According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI)Trusted Source, symptoms of withdrawal are at their worst for the first week after quitting, peaking at 3 days. Symptoms gradually get better over the first month.

Knowing this ahead of time can help you prepare for this tough period. Be patient and remind them that these symptoms are only temporary.

Certain triggers can make a loved one want to smoke. Triggers fall into one of three categoriesTrusted Source:

  • Pattern: These refer to activities or habits a loved one associates with smoking, such as driving, drinking alcohol or coffee, and work breaks.
  • Emotional: Some emotions may trigger a loved one’s desire to smoke. These may range from happiness and excitement to anxiety, loneliness, and stress.
  • Social: These include social occasions and gathering places that typically include other smokers, such as bars, concerts, or simply being around other people who smoke.

A loved one may also be triggered by other factors like smelling cigarette smoke or craving the taste of cigarettes.

Knowing what triggers them can help you provide the support they need to stop smoking.

If a loved one is struggling to quit, you can suggest nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products. These may help them manage their cravings, making the transition to being fully smoke-free easier.

NRT products include:

  • patches
  • gums
  • lozenges
  • nasal sprays
  • inhalers

A 2018 review of nearly 65,000 people who smoke found that those who used NRTs were up to 60%Trusted Source more likely to quit smoking cigarettes than those who didn’t use them.

Prescription medications are also available to help with smoking cessation, including varenicline (Chantix).

If a loved one is hesitant about using NRTs or prescription medications, encourage them to speak with a healthcare professional about their options.