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This New Year, Make a Resolution to Help Someone Quit Smoking

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With New Year’s in the not-so-distant past, many people are thinking about their resolutions and how to stick to them. One of the most popular is to quit smoking. It's likely that you know someone who wants to break their addiction to tobacco and wonder “If they know it’s so bad, why don’t they just quit?”
Think back to a time when there was something you knew you should do but didn’t want to. Ever hit the snooze button a few too many times? Skip a workout? Ordered take-out instead of cooking? Now imagine how you would respond if someone kept nagging you, repeating “Don’t you know how unhealthy that is for you?”  It wouldn’t make you change your behaviour, only feel inadequate and guilty.
Many smokers’ feel the same way when they get nagged to quit. On top of everything else, they’re dealing with an addiction, something that is causing their brain to actively work against them.

Nagging, guilt and judging just doesn’t work. But there are ways that you can positively support friends and loved ones to quit smoking.  The Canadian Cancer Society offers the following tips:
  • Bring up smoking in a non-judgmental way that shows you are genuinely concerned for their well-being. Recognize that quitting is not always an easy thing to do.
    • Try saying:  “I believe you have the strength to quit. I want to help you because I know it’s something you've said you wanted to do.”
  • ​Ask how you can help. It will show you care and that you really want to support your friend or loved one.
    • Try saying: “Quitting smoking is different for everyone so I want to help you find the right way for you.  If you need anything, I'm here for you.”
  • Show them that you believe in them and that you will be there for the ups and downs. 
    • Try saying: “I know you can do this, even if it takes several attempts.  I really admire you for even trying.  I'm here for you no matter what.”
  •  Encourage them to access free resources proven to help people quit, such as the Canadian Cancer Society’s One Step at a Time materials.
    • Try saying: “I found this great booklet called ‘One Step At A Time – For smokers who want to quit.’  I looked through and it seems like it might have some really useful information for you. You can read it when you’re ready.”
  • Give them an added incentive or a goal to work towards. It doesn’t have to cost money, sometimes quality time is something that can have an impact.
    • Try saying: “Congrats on being smoke-free for one day! I made you this card to celebrate and recognize this important day.”


Additional Support from a Quit Coach

Another great complement to the support you can provide is information to connect with a local quit line. Accessing counselling through quitlines, such as The Canadian Cancer Society’s Smokers’ Helpline, can double a person’s chances of becoming smoke-free
While quit lines can vary from province to province, they all give access to a specialist, often called a “Quit Coach” Check out this video to learn about Smokers' Helpline free services from real Quit Coaches:

Visit to find out which quit line is available for you

Have you or a loved one connected with the Smokers' Helpline program? Join in our discussion about smoking and drinking alcohol during treatment.



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