How to help someone you know quit smoking

by Sara Waldron on November 7, 2017

Why should I help someone quit smoking?

Smoking cigarettes are more than just a bad habit, it’s a serious addiction. Quitting smoking can be one of the toughest challenges a person may face in their life. Someone who feels supported is more likely to quit smoking for good. When someone decides to quit smoking the thoughts and cravings don’t disappear instantly. It takes time for the cravings to fade and many people try numerous times before they successfully quit. The majority of individuals who quit don’t do it on their own. Make sure you are available to help them make a plan to quit, do activities together, and offer words of encouragement along the way. Remember they are in charge of their decision to quit smoking so let them tell you what they need to feel supportive.

What are the short- term benefits of quitting?

It doesn’t take long for the health benefits to appear. About 20 minutes after your last cigarette your blood pressure decreases, pulse rate slows, and the temperature of your hands and feet increases. Eight hours later your blood has begun to recover and the levels of carbon monoxide and oxygen have returned to normal. Within 24 hours the chances of a heart attack has decreased. About 48 hours after quitting your nerve endings have begun to regenerate to improve your sense of taste and smell. After several weeks, your circulation will improve and your lungs will function better so walking and exercising become easier.

smoking pic 1

Tips to Help Someone Quit Smoking

  • Do respect that the quitter is in charge. This is their lifestyle change and their challenge, not yours. You are there as a support system.
  • Do ask the person how they’re doing. Ask how they’re feeling and if they need anything to help. Be careful to not nag the individual.
    • Do let the person know that it’s OK to talk to you whenever they need to hear encouraging words or help with their plan to stay smoke-free.
    • Do help the person 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. Be a part of their plan to help along the way.
    • Do spend time doing things with the person who is quitting to help keep their mind off smoking. Try going to the movies, taking a walk, or riding bikes to get past a craving.
    • Do try to see it from the smoker’s point of view – a smoker’s habit to smoke may feel like an old friend that’s always been there during tough times. It’s hard to give that up and make a change.
    • Do celebrate along the way. Quitting smoking is a BIG DEAL!

smoking pic

Try following some of these tips to help someone quit smoking. Join us for the Great American Smokeout on November 16th at ECC 10am-2pm for support or tips to quit smoking. For more information visit: To learn more about Outreach Education and the BSU Peer Educators, like the BSU Outreach page on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and Twitter @bsuoutreach, and check out our calendar for upcoming events on the Involvement Network at and search for the BSU Peer Educators.

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