Quitting smoking? Gather your team for support.



Let’s face it. Quitting smoking can be pretty rough. If you’re ready, one of the best strategies is this: Don’t go it alone. Having a support system could make all the difference.

Why should I get help from others?

People who quit smoking tend to be more successful when they have support.

“The more people you have supporting you, the better,” said Jennifer McClure, PhD, a Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute scientist who leads the institute’s tobacco studies. “If you’re serious about quitting smoking, think about those you can rely on when you need someone.”

Loop in your family and friends. Tell those around you that you’re quitting smoking. This may sound scary; it’s a bold move, certainly. But making a declaration and asking for cooperation makes you more likely to succeed.

It really is best to tell them before you quit, so they can support you.

You may wonder, “What if I fail? Can’t I just tell them after I quit?” You can, but why not get their help and increase your chances of success?

“It really is best to tell them before you quit, so they can support you,” McClure said.

Not sure? A few days before you try to quit, talk to the people you think will be most helpful to you.

Ask for the right kind of help

Once you have an idea of who is on your team, know what to ask for. Let your support team know how you want them to help you. Tell them what they should do, such as:

  • Call you
  • Go for walks with you
  • Distract you when dealing with a situation where you would normally smoke
  • Encourage you (let them know how, so they do not feel they’re nagging)
  • Be patient with you
  • Help you manage stress

Also be clear about what you do not want them to do, which may include:

  • Talking you out of quitting
  • Offering you cigarettes
  • Smoking around you
  • Belittling your efforts to quit

Other options

Sometimes the best support comes from those who know what you are going through. Here are a few more ideas to help you build a strong support system:

  • Find a quitting buddy — ask a friend to quit smoking with you.
  • Talk to people who have quit — learn what worked for them.
  • Think about getting help from a stop-smoking counselor. Kaiser Permanente Washington members can enroll in the Quit for Life program by calling 1-800-462-5327 or visiting the Quit For Life website. And anyone in the U.S. can call the national stop-smoking hotline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW to connect with free stop-smoking services in their local area.