Quitting smoking isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be done alone. Around 34 million Americans still smoke cigarettes, which remains the top preventable cause of illness and death. This Thursday, November 17, is the Great American Smokeout, sponsored by the American Cancer Society. They help thousands of Americans take the first step to a healthier life by quitting cigarette use for 24 hours.

Quitting smoking improves health immediately and over the long term. Within 20 minutes, heart rate and blood pressure drop. After one day, the body cleanses carbon monoxide, decreasing the risk of heart attack, heart disease, and stroke. Within a month, breathing becomes easier as the lungs may clear up.

Giving up smoking is a challenging journey. Symptoms of nicotine withdrawal can be difficult, but a good plan and proper support can double success rates. People who quit tobacco may feel depressed, frustrated, anxious, and irritable. Here are three tips to help support a loved one during the Great American Smokeout 

  • Extraction/Unsplash

    Celebrate All Efforts  

    Slip-ups can happen. Remind your loved one of how far they have come and encourage them to try again. Any progress, no matter how small, is a reason to celebrate.

  • Kelly Sikkema/Unsplash
    Kelly Sikkema/Unsplash

    Be Patient and Supportive

    Nicotine withdrawal can cause anger and frustration but remember, it’s not personal. Spend time on fun activities and stay open to communication.  

  • Annie Spratt/Unsplash
    Annie Spratt/Unsplash

    Help Ease Stress

    High-stress levels can trigger a relapse. Offer to help with overwhelming tasks such as cleaning, shopping, cooking, and childcare.  

More From SoJO 104.9 FM