Breaking the nicotine habit: Help someone else quit smoking using proven four-step process

Heidelberg Medical Department Activity Public Affairs Office
Deciding to quit using tobacco products is a big step for anyone who smokes or uses smokeless tobacco. Friends, family and co-workers can help someone they know to quit smoking in several ways. 

According to, helping someone quit smoking or dipping can be made easier with the help of a simple four-step process.

Step 1: Thinking about quitting
• Quitting needs to be their decision, not anyone else’s, so it is important to be supportive, but not pushy.

• Choose the right time to be encouraging. The most opportune times are when they bring it up themselves.

• Don’t give up or get frustrated. Give them the time they need.

Step 2: Preparing to quit

• Helpers who smoke themselves should consider quitting with the friend they are trying to help. Having a “quit buddy” can be a huge motivator.

• Help them pick a quit date that is right for them, and then help them stick to it.

• Suggest medications or professional support to help them along the way. Doing a little bit of research on the effects of nicotine withdrawal could provide the knowledge to help them fight cravings in tough times.

• Remove all tobacco-related products from their home and car.

• Encourage them to tell as many people as possible about their goal of quitting.

Step 3: Quitting
• Compliment them on their efforts. Positive feedback is a big help and always appreciated. Have they considered a reward system for themselves? Rewards can help them make it past everyday obstacles instead of just working toward the big milestone at the end.

• Don’t use tobacco products in front of a friend who is trying to quit.

• Spend time having fun. Try to avoid places that may encourage tobacco use. Instead, participate in physical activities or play games. Go for a walk, fix a healthy snack or encourage them to start a quit journal or blog.

• Be understanding. Setbacks are not failures — they are just part of the process.
Step 4: Staying smoke-free

• Celebrate successes with them. Every tobacco-free milestone can be a reason to celebrate.

• Remember that for many people, quitting completely can take several attempts over time. Be ready to offer nonjudgmental encouragement and support.

Live help is available online at, which features a 24/7 chat service with tobacco cessation coaches.