Helping the Smoker You Care About

What can I do to help my husband quit? Are there certain foods that would be good “comfort” foods during withdrawals?
Your husband is lucky to have you as a support. We have a number of places for you to get support while he’s quitting, and to learn more about the quitting process that he is going through. In the Quit Wizard, there is a section just for friends and family members of smokers and quitters. Information about secondhand smoke, including health risks and how to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke, can be found in our secondhand smoke section. Your husband deserves an extra-special reward because by quitting, he is not only greatly improving his own health, but the health of his family. A nice reward might be a home-cooked healthy, low-fat meal. Quitters often crave sugar and get hunger pangs because of changes in the body’s chemistry after quitting. Weight gain is, of course, a worry. Try to have healthy snacks and food around that he’ll actually eat! Buy and serve foods that are high in fiber (whole grains, fruits, vegetables), sweet but not sugary (sugar-free candy, jello, dried fruit, fruit smoothies), high in protein (low-fat yogurt, string cheese) and low in fat. Shopping for food and cooking are smoke-free activities that you could do together (keep those hands busy and fill up some time). Let us know how it goes. The article on “Smoking and Your Weight” may also be a good resource for you and your husband.

My boyfriend is 17 and he has been smoking since he was 10! He tries so hard to quit. All his attempts have only lasted about a week though. My brother died at the young age of 23 from lung cancer, so that is always in the back of my mind. I’m willing to do anything to help him quit but we just don’t know what to do.

It’s really great that you are so supportive of your boyfriend’s quitting smoking. As you know, quitting smoking is tough and there are some things to keep in mind when you want to help someone you care about to quit. It’s important to express care and to avoid criticism or pressure. Remember, your boyfriend will need to make the decision to quit. If a person is not ready, they cannot be talked into it. Repeatedly asking the person to quit can backfire; they may decide that it’s just too difficult or feel that it’s hopeless. We suggest that if a loved one does want to quit, ask them directly how you can be of help. Offer encouragement and to be “on call” if they need to talk or keep busy. Remember mood swings are normal in the beginning and should pass with time. If the person slips, tell them that it’s OK and that quitting can take time. Studies show that people who want to quit increase the likelihood of success when they get extra support and learn about different methods for quitting.  I would encourage him to talk to a doctor about what stop-smoking medication options are available to him.

It is not how many years we live, but what we do with them. Health Service Food and Human Resources: Discount Cigarettes Brands

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