Most people who quit don’t quit cold turkey on their own. They get a lot of help and support from friends, family, and significant others. That’s where you come in!
Understand that quitting smoking is hard
Smoking cigarettes isn’t a bad habit. It’s a serious and complicated addiction. That makes quitting smoking one of the biggest challenges many female smokers will face. The more you know, the more you can help. Check out 3 Reasons Why Quitting is so Hard for more information about quitting.
Know your relationship style
You may not realize it, but you and she have a style to the way you both deal with smoking. Understanding your relationship style can help you understand what each of you may have to change to better deal with her smoking and quitting.
Start the conversation
Quitting smoking can be hard for her to talk about. Check out our 3 Ways to Start the Conversation About Quitting with Someone section for tips about how to get the conversation started.
Everyone’s experience with smoking and quitting smoking is different. Don’t assume you know what it’s like for her, and don’t assume you know what she needs to successfully quit. Ask!
Quitting smoking is about her—not you. So listen to what she has to say. If you ask a question, be quiet and give her time to answer. Resist the urge to insert your own comments.
Lectures, nagging, and scolding won’t help her quit smoking. It might just put you on her bad side, and she won’t want to come to you for help when she really needs it.
For most smokers, cigarettes became a regular part of daily life. So there are a lot of people, places, and things that might trigger a craving because they remind them of smoking. Offer distractions to help her deal with her cravings without a cigarette.
Be patient and positive
Supporting someone who is trying to quit smoking can be frustrating and exhausting. But you can’t compare it to the frustration and exhaustion she might be facing. Stay upbeat and don’t give up on her (or yourself). Your support is important!
Go easy on her if she slips
There’s a chance she will slip at some point and smoke a cigarette. Don’t get angry. She’ll probably feel guilty enough, and a slip does not mean she failed. Focus on all that she has accomplished. Remind her that a slip is just one bump in the road.
Celebrate successes (big and small)
Recognize and celebrate her successes. Staying smokefree for one day, one week, or one year are all reasons to celebrate. So are setting a quit date, throwing away ash trays and lighters, and getting the tools she needs to quit.
Help her de-stress
Quitting smoking can cause a lot of stress. And, unfortunately, many women may be used to reaching for a cigarette as a way to deal with stress. Help her break the cycle by finding healthier ways to de-stress. If you notice she is stressed, try suggesting a relaxing activity. If you smoke, remember not to agree to have a cigarette together—that will set her back.
Be there for the long haul
The challenges of quitting smoking don’t stop when a woman puts down her last cigarette. Cravings can pop up weeks, even months, later. It’s not uncommon for ex-smokers to start smoking again within the first three months of quitting. Your ongoing support could be all she needs to make her next quit attempt her last.