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Resources for Family, Friends, and Caregivers

Helping a Family Member or Friend Quit Tobacco Use​​​​​​

​​​​​​​​​​When someone is ready to quit tobacco use, it's important to make the most of that motivation. Having support and encouragement from family and/or friends is an important part of ensuring success for the person trying to quit tobacco use.

Although sup​port from family and/or friends have been shown to help people succeed in quitting tobacco use, it can be confusing and frustrating for family members when their loved one don't see their tobacco use as a problem, relapse after quitting, or continue to relapse after many tries. Before trying to support family or friends in quitting tobacco use, it's important to know the way you deal with tobacco use as this can affect the person who is trying to quit. You might ask yourself:
  • Do I mind that my friend or family member uses tobacco around me?
  • Do I argue with my friend or family member about tobacco use?
  • Do I avoid talking about tobacco use?​

Sometimes the person needs further support you might not be able to provide. Patients can self-refer to the Nicotine Dependence Clinic (NDC)You can also explore the section on self-help resources.

  • Ask: "what worries you most about quitting?"
  • Respond positively when someone tells you about quitting tobacco use ("I'm so proud of you for trying to quit tobacco use." "You're not alone in this. I'll be here for you.")​
  • If you use tobacco, consider quitting together
  • Ask what you can do to help and keep offering the help
  • Direct them to the NDC , their family doctor, or the quitline (1-877-513-5333)
  • Be understanding and available as they might be cranky or irritable from the nicotine withdrawal
  • Be a distraction to help avoid urges to use tobacco​​
  • Be encouraging
  • Be patient. It'll take a while for them to get used to quitting
  • Recognize and celebrate the small success of quitting (Smoked less cigarettes? Cook them a nice meal)
  • Do things together to de-stress
  • Help them learn from the last time they tried to quit​
  • Set a plan

  • Avoid criticizing, lecturing, or preaching because it will make them feel worse and more likely to continue using tobacco
  • No ultimatums or bribery ("If you don't quit, I'm leaving you")
  • Avoid nagging, blaming, or put-downs while they're quitting. Remember: quitting isn't easy

Taking Care of Yourself When Supporting a Family or Friend

Sometimes you've tried everything. From telling them about how smoking can be harmful to them and to you (learn more about secondhand smoking), and sometimes you feel about their smoking. At the end of the day, the person who is trying to quit tobacco use is the one who has to put in the work, not you. It might also be time to start thinking about how you can take care of yourself. Self-care is an important part of caring for your loved one. By taking care of yourself, you're better able to be a positive support for your family and friends.