You can help a loved one quit smoking by being patient, helping them find support programs, helping them manage their triggers, and spending time with them.

Nearly 70% of adult smokers in 2015 said they wanted to quit smoking, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

However, a much smaller percentage of smokers were successful. For some people, it can take multiple attempts to finally quit.

You play a greater role in a loved one’s ability to quit smoking than you might realize. Support can help them on their smoking cessation journey.

Keep reading to learn more about the ways you can help a loved one quit smoking.

A loved one may experience physical and emotional symptoms when they stop smoking. This is known as withdrawal. It occurs because the body has developed a dependence on nicotine.

According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), symptoms of withdrawal are at their worst for the first week after quitting, peaking at 3 days. Symptoms gradually get better over the first month.

Knowing this ahead of time can help you prepare for this tough period. Be patient and remind them that these symptoms are only temporary.

Certain triggers can make a loved one want to smoke. Triggers fall into one of three categories:

  • Pattern: These refer to activities or habits a loved one associates with smoking, such as driving, drinking alcohol or coffee, and work breaks.
  • Emotional: Some emotions may trigger a loved one’s desire to smoke. These may range from happiness and excitement to anxiety, loneliness, and stress.
  • Social: These include social occasions and gathering places that typically include other smokers, such as bars, concerts, or simply being around other people who smoke.

A loved one may also be triggered by other factors like smelling cigarette smoke or craving the taste of cigarettes.

Knowing what triggers them can help you provide the support they need to stop smoking.

Finding distractions can help a loved one manage their triggers and cope with nicotine withdrawal.

Here are techniques you can suggest to help them manage pattern and emotional triggers:

Pattern• chew gum, hard candy, or a toothpick to replace a cigarette
• squeeze a stress ball or write in a journal to keep your hands busy
• change your routine, such as having coffee at a different time or walking after eating
Emotional• find healthy ways to cope with your feelings
• speak with a therapist
• try natural remedies, such as acupuncture
• get support from sites like or Freedom from Smoking
• exercise to relieve stress and anxiety, and improve your mood
• try relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing and yoga

It’s best to help a loved one avoid social situations where there may be people smoking. This can be difficult if their friends and family smoke, or if you smoke, too.

To help them avoid these triggers, spend time with them doing fun activities. These may include:

If a loved one is struggling to quit, you can suggest nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products. These may help them manage their cravings, making the transition to being fully smoke-free easier.

NRT products include:

A 2018 review of nearly 65,000 people who smoke found that those who used NRTs were up to 60% more likely to quit smoking cigarettes than those who didn’t use them.

Prescription medications are also available to help with smoking cessation, including varenicline (Chantix).

If a loved one is hesitant about using NRTs or prescription medications, encourage them to speak with a healthcare professional about their options.

It’s important to encourage a loved one on their smoke cessation journey. Don’t set up unrealistic expectations.

Speak with them about how often they want you to ask them how they’re doing. When you do ask, listen.

Encouragement doesn’t always have to be vocal. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), you can help a loved one by:

  • getting rid of ashtrays, lighters, and cigarettes around the house
  • doing extra chores when they’re experiencing hard days
  • getting the smell of smoke out of their clothes and furniture
  • quit smoking with them if you smoke

After a while, a loved one may lose momentum because they could feel like there’s nothing to look forward to.

You can help them create rewards, such as going on a date night.

You can help a loved one find resources if they’re having a difficult time or if you’re experiencing too much strain.

These may include:

Don’t hesitate to call the National Network of Tobacco Cessation Quitlines at 800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669) for free resources and extra support.

The most important way you can help a loved one quit smoking is to be supportive, especially on hard days.

They may experience a slip, which is when they take a puff or two from a cigarette. According to the ACS, this is common when someone quits smoking. A loved one may also start smoking again, which is known as relapse.

In either case, it’s important to:

  • not shame them
  • remind them of the progress they’ve made
  • remind them why they decided to quit
  • understand why they started smoking again
  • encourage them to quit again

What to do if someone doesn’t want to quit smoking?

Many smokers already know the health risks of smoking. However, they may not be ready to quit smoking, or they might not realize the impact their habit is having on you, such as secondhand smoke.

Tell a loved one you understand where they’re coming from. Then, express your concerns without lecturing so they can see your side, too. For example, you can provide a cost analysis of their habit and show what your family could have with the money spent on cigarettes.

How can you encourage someone to stop smoking?

You can help someone on their smoking cessation journey by:

  • providing physical and emotional support
  • trying to understand their withdrawal symptoms and triggers
  • spending time with them
  • suggesting support groups like the ones on

A loved one may find it hard to quit smoking. However, your support can help them on their smoking cessation journey.

Speak with them to understand their withdrawal symptoms and triggers. You can support and encourage them, as well as suggest other resources, such as therapy groups and NRT.