Giving up smoking

Giving up smoking with others and online support

It can be encouraging to give up smoking with the support of other people. Sometimes people asked friends and colleagues how they had managed to quit, or tried to give up at the same time as their partner or friend.
Mariam asked others about the techniques and strategies they had used to give up smoking. Both Sue and Lisa were given the Allen Carr book by friends and found it helped them give up.

Different types of stop smoking support groups exist. The evidence suggests that group programmes are more effective for helping people stop smoking than handing out self-help materials without face-to-face help. In fact, the success rate is approximately doubled in people who go to a support group or get individual counselling.
Some people went to Allen Carr’s Stop Smoking Clinics where during a five-hour seminar people are invited to smoke in the breaks throughout and then quit smoking at the end.
If people were taking varenicline (Champix) which is prescribed in the NHS they were often advised to use a form of behavioural support in addition and this was sometimes a support group.
As part of his job working for the Expert Patients programme, John attended some training to help others quit smoking he started to think seriously about quitting too. A few facts in the slides he was to present to the group stuck in his mind, such as that a cigarette contains over 600 substances, including formaldehyde.

(Also see ‘Being a non-smoker’, ‘Help from pharmacists, GP’s and Nicotine Replacement Therapies’ and ‘Complementary approaches to quitting’).

Not a group person?

Not everyone wants to attend group meetings, even if they are offered a place at one. Reasons include being too busy, preferring to go it alone or wanting one-to-one help.
Sarah had been to group therapy before to help her eating disorder and didn’t like it, so decided to seek help in another form. Tam found that the groups didn’t fit with her shift pattern at the factory, whilst long waiting lists put others off. Munir knew that support was available from his GP practice and from the local mosque, but because he worked long hours he couldn’t take advantage of it. Caroline didn’t want to go as she couldn’t fit attendance into her lunch hour.

Online information and support.

Cassie once started a blog about her attempts to give up smoking, but stopped as she didn’t want ‘everyone to see her fail’. Various types of smoking cessation support programmes are available online. Laura and Abdul said it hadn’t occurred to them to look up any websites about smoking, and others said that they had avoided searching for information online about the risks of smoking. But some people had looked online for practical help in giving up. Khan and Angela, for example, both looked online before seeking face-to-face support.

​Last reviewed August 2018.


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