Tips For Supporting Others To Quit Smoking


Quit smoking

Despite heavy campaigning, fantastic initiatives from the government and increasingly strict advertising laws, the tobacco industry remains a multi-billion dollar industry in Australia.

We all know about the impact smoking has on our wellbeing, and according to The Department of Health it also costs the country an incredible $31.5 billion in social (including health) and economic costs every year.

The good news is that smoking rates are dropping.

Back in 1959 total tobacco sales were as high as $5.135b, dropping to $3.405b in 2014. What’s more, the rate of daily smokers over the age of 18 has dropped from 25% in 1991 to 13.3% in 2013.

Working in aged care you’ll have the opportunity to support and care for people in a range of situations. Our very own short courses equip learners with a variety of skills from asthma management and first aid, to providing CPR.

You may also find yourself supporting residents to quit smoking. Whilst the uptake of smoking in younger generations is decreasing, quitting can be especially difficult for older people who may have smoked for decades.

How To Help Smokers Quit

If you’ve ever smoked full time and quit, you’ll understand how difficult it can be to stop. If you’ve never smoked, it’s important not to underestimate the challenge. There are a number of resources available that help people quit, including Quitnow and The Cancer Council. Here are some ways you can start the process with somebody.

1. Be Understanding

Smoking is an addiction and quitting can be very tough. Be empathetic and remember that the behaviour being altered has likely developed over decades. The process will take time.

2. Remember The Smoker Is In Charge

Ultimately, the smoker needs to be the one who wants to quit. Your role is supportive. Any attempt to force or control behaviour will be unhelpful.

3. Be Patient and Positive

Supporting somebody to quit smoking can be frustrating, so it’s important that you stay upbeat. As the smoker withdraws from cigarettes they will likely experience mood swings and irritability – don’t take this personally, just carry on with a positive attitude as much as possible. 

4. Understand Triggers

What triggers somebody to smoke? It could be habit (e.g. smoking after a meal), stress, social situations etc. Understanding these may help you to provide an alternative activity or distraction for the smoker when the trigger starts.

5. Celebrate Success

Cutting down from half a packet to two cigarettes a day is a success. As is not smoking for a day, a week or a month – these small steps all contribute to the ultimate goal, so make sure you celebrate successes big and small.

6. Be Kind

On the quitting journey, it’s common for smokers to lapse into old habits. Be patient if this happens. Remind the person why they wanted to quit in the first place and assure them that they have not ‘failed’. It’s simply a bump in the road.

For more information about quitting smoking, or supporting somebody else through the process go to the Quit website.

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