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Dear Friends and Family,
I am sending you this email because I am quitting smoking with the American Lung Association’s Freedom From Smoking® Online program.
Here are some tips from the American Lung Association on how you can help me during this process:
How Can I Help Someone Who Is Trying to Quit Smoking?
Once a smoker has decided to try to quit, he is most likely to make it if family, friends, and co-workers give their help and support. Your support will be valuable as your friend moves through the Freedom From Smoking® Online program. Encourage him or her to set a target quit date, and offer to help in any way needed. If your friend has not yet fully made up his mind to quit, help him think of his own reasons for quitting.
Keep in mind; quitting is different for each smoker. Ask your friend how you can be most helpful. This will show that you care and that you really want to help. Tell your friend that you think he can succeed this time—even if he has tried to quit before and failed. (In fact, most smokers have to “practice” quitting a few times before they quit for good.)
For the first few days after the smoker quits, be ready to help. He may want to talk all the time, or he may just want extra help when a tough situation comes up, such as a coffee break, a party, or a crisis at home or at work. Offer to call or visit to check on how he is doing. Ask how he’s feeling, not just whether or not he is still off cigarettes. No nagging, scolding, or preaching—these just don’t work. Instead, let him know how much you admire him for trying to quit.
Give lots of praise and offer rewards for getting through a day, a week, or a month without smoking. Rewards can be simple—flowers, a lunch treat, doing a chore around the house or office that your friend often does. Suggest doing things together, such as eating in the nonsmoking area of a lunchroom or restaurant, going to a movie, or taking a walk.
Your friend may not feel that he wants to quit. Cigarettes have been a steady friend for a long time. These feelings are normal even in smokers who succeed. Let your friend know you understand his doubts.
I’m a Smoker Myself. Can I Help a Friend Quit?You sure can! You can start helping your friend, and yourself, by not smoking around him. You could also think up new nonsmoking activities to replace those where you smoked together. But the best gift you could give your friend and yourself is to quit smoking now. Your friend is more likely to stay off cigarettes if you are not smoking. Married ex-smokers are more likely to go back to smoking if their husbands or wives smoke. If you decide to quit together, be sure you and your friend ask other people to help you as well.Can I Help My Friend Plan How to Handle Urges to Smoke?Yes. In fact, people who succeed in quitting are the ones who plan how to cope with smoking urges. Encourage your friend and help him think up some simple things to do when he gets an urge to smoke. Your friend might:
What if My Friend Starts Smoking Again?Forget about blame or guilt. He is really learning how to quit—he is not failing. Remind your friend about how well he did. Each time he tries to quit is a step forward. Help him figure out what led to his relapse, then suggest he plan what to do the next time he’s in that situation. You may feel badly if he doesn’t quit. The best thing to say to your friend is, “Good try! I still care about you and will help you next time.” Try to feel good about all your efforts to help. When your friend is ready, you can prepare together for the next time he quits smoking.
How Long Do I Need to Help My Friend?The first 7 to 10 days are the toughest, and your friend may need the most help then. Most smokers who go back to smoking do so within the first 3 months. So you need to keep in close touch for at least that much time. “Slips” (having a puff or smoking one or two cigarettes) are pretty common. If your friend has slipped, remind him of all the good reasons to stay quit. Praise all his nonsmoking efforts and don’t mention the “slips.” Ex-smokers may have an urge to smoke for months or even years after they stop. This is normal, so let your friend know not to worry. Remind your friend that such urges will occur less and less often over time. You can also help celebrate nonsmoking anniversaries. You deserve a lot of credit for helping someone end their addiction. Your help can make the difference. Most people who are able to stop smoking are the ones who get help and encouragement from family, friends, and co-workers.
Thank you in advance for your support!
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The information contained in this American Lung Association® web site is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment, and the American Lung Association recommends consultation with your doctor or health care professional. The American Lung Association is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization.