Tips for Friends and Family of Quitters

Updated:May 30,2014

Helpful TipsFamily members and friends can play a key role in the quit-smoking process.

Here are some ways you can help:

  • Help the ex-smoker keep a supply of low-fat, low-calorie foods in the house. People who quit smoking like to have something to chew on.
  • Do things together to pass the time — play cards or board games, watch videos, go for walks or just talk.
  • Give support and encouragement, but don't act like a policeman or a watchdog. Nagging doesn't help — it can make people want to smoke.
  • Be a good listener if the ex-smoker wants to talk about cigarettes. But don't force them to talk if they don't want to.
  • If you smoke, use the information on this Web site to help you quit. If you aren't ready to quit, hide your cigarettes and try not to smoke in front of an ex-smoker. Go outside to smoke and ask visitors to do the same.

Managing your expectations and noticing behavioral changes:

  • For a while, ex-smokers can be in a bad mood — angry, nervous and irritable. The bad mood is part of withdrawal and will soon pass.
  • But, if the smoker is using a non-nicotine replacement prescription medicine containing bupropion hydrochloride or varenicline, be alert to changes in his or her mental health.
    • The FDA notified the public that the use of varenicline or bupropion has been associated with reports of behavior changes including hostility, agitation, depressed mood, and suicidal thoughts or actions. The FDA is requiring the manufacturers of these products to add a new Boxed Warning to the product labeling to alert healthcare professionals to this important new safety information.
    • Friends or family members who notice serious and unusual changes in mood or behavior or intent to hurt themselves or others in someone who is taking varenicline or bupropion for smoking cessation should tell the person their concerns and recommend that he or she stop taking the drug and call a healthcare professional right away.
    • For more information about the FDA's warnings about varenicline and bupropion, read our press release.
  • Even if you used to smoke, you can't know how hard or easy quitting is for another person. Never tell the ex-smoker he or she is making too much fuss.

Quit Smoking

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