As part of someone’s support system, you can impact their efforts to quit for good. While quitting and staying tobacco free is ultimately up to them, there is still a lot you can do to help. There is no exact list of rules and guidelines on how to be supportive and help someone quit smoking. Some tips will work while others may not; every person’s journey to quit is very different. It is important to know there are several things that usually don’t help. Do not nag or complain about their moodiness or short temper while they are in the process of quitting. Don’t monitor them by keeping track of cigarettes smoked. Remember that, at the end of the day, quitting for good lies with the individual. Your job is to be supportive and to help make quitting easier. What about the potential for RELAPSE? Click here for more info.

How to Help Someone Quit

Quitting is very hard. Take time to understand the person’s struggle. For more information about the symptoms they may experience while quitting, click here.


Accept that you are going to have to tolerate moodiness and irritability while your loved one is going through nicotine withdrawal. Remind them—and yourself—that this is just temporary and part of the process.


Rewarding quitting is very important. Use encouraging words, and help family and friends plan for rewards at various milestones with the money saved from quitting.


Help them think of healthy alternatives to smoking, such as a new workout plan or a healthy hobby


Express confidence in their willingness and ability to quit.


Help distract them from the urge to light up. Some examples: Offer to go on a walk together, go out for a healthy dinner at a non-smoking restaurant, or engage in a conversation that’s not about smoking.


Compliment and congratulate milestones, whether they’ve been tobacco free for a week or a month.


What Not to Do

While rewarding them with small gifts may seem encouraging, avoid handing out incentives for quitting. Instead, remind them to reward themselves with the money saved from quitting.

Don’t lecture about the health dangers of tobacco use. Instead, remind them about the health benefits of quitting.


Don’t criticize a lack of willpower. Always remember that nicotine is extremely addicting.


Never give ultimatums.


Don’t doubt their desire or ability to quit for good.


Don’t smoke around family and friends who are trying to quit, and encourage them to stay away from other people who are smoking until strong urges to light up fade.

*Please note that throughout this site, reference is made to smokers because the great majority of tobacco users are cigarette smokers, but these strategies work for smokeless tobacco users too.