Building a Strong Support System for Quitting Smoking

Deciding to break free from the chains of smoking is a bold and formidable choice that demands unwavering support. However, with the right support system, anyone can increase their chances of successfully quitting smoking. 

At Quit Clinics, we understand the challenges and complexities involved in quitting smoking, and we’re here to guide you every step of the way. In this article, we will explore the crucial aspect of building a robust support system and how it can significantly impact your quitting journey.

Open Up to Family and Friends

One of the fundamental pillars of a successful quitting journey is opening up to trusted friends and family. Although this may be a challenging task for some, opening up to trusted loved ones can help reduce stress, anxiety and depression making your quitting journey much easier. Sharing your goals with loved ones not only lightens the emotional burden but also fosters an environment of understanding and encouragement. To open up effectively, communicate openly, express your needs, and highlight the importance of their role in your journey.

For those supporting a loved one, patience and empathy will play key roles. It is important for them to trust they can count on you for any moral support and encouragement. 

Join a Support Group

Support groups offer a sense of community and shared experience, making the quitting journey less isolating. 

Local stop-smoking support groups provide a platform to share struggles, celebrate victories, and exchange tips. Joining a support group reinforces the understanding that you are not alone in your journey and will provide additional motivation, resources and practical quitting skills that can further support your quit journey. 

Approximately 3-5% of smokers who attempt to quit without assistance are expected to achieve success. Research conducted by the Australian Lung Foundation indicates that receiving appropriate counselling and support from a stop-smoking support group can elevate your chances of success to the range of 25-30%.

Find a Quit Buddy

Pairing up with someone who shares the same quitting journey can provide unparalleled support. A quit buddy understands the challenges intimately, offering mutual motivation and accountability. This shared experience not only strengthens you but also creates a unique bond that enhances the overall support system. Your quit buddy will be going through the same emotions, cravings and obstacles, so you won’t feel alone during these challenging times and have support when you need it.

However, your quit buddy does not need to be limited to one on the same journey but can range from a non-smoker, an ex-smoker or simply a partner or a friend. This individual can support you and can even be allocated special responsibilities like becoming your new gym buddy, which can further aid your quit-smoking journey. 

Various community-based trials in London gave smokers the choice and assistance of a quit buddy as an optional element. As a result, the studies indicate a positive correlation between having a quit buddy and the success of smoking cessation, with participants who enlisted a buddy were found to be three times more likely to achieve successful cessation. 

Use Digital Tools and Apps

In the digital age, various apps and tools can complement your quitting journey. Apps like Smokefree and My Quitbuddy provide tracking features, motivational messages, and community forums. Utilising these tools enhances your support system, providing practical assistance and reinforcing your commitment to quitting.

Keep Active

Physical activity is a powerful ally in the quest to quit smoking. Engaging in regular exercise not only helps distract from cravings but also alleviates stress, a common trigger for smoking. Studies show that incorporating physical activity, especially aerobic exercises like running, walking, or cycling, into your routine can significantly improve your chances of successfully quitting. Learn more about how exercise can help fight cravings.

Avoid Triggers

Identifying and avoiding triggers is paramount in a successful quitting journey. Triggers can range from specific situations to emotional states. Acknowledging and understanding these triggers empowers you to develop strategies to avoid or cope with them, reinforcing your commitment to quit.

Triggers encompass a wide spectrum, extending from specific situations, such as social gatherings, to various emotional states like stress or boredom. By acknowledging and avoiding these triggers, you can proactively devise strategies to either avoid or effectively cope with these situations. This not only reinforces your commitment to quit but also facilitates a deeper understanding of the underlying reasons for your smoking habit. 

Understanding your triggers can foster a sense of control and self-efficacy, which are essential components for sustaining positive behavioural change over the long term.

Keep a Quit Journal

Maintaining a quit journal provides a valuable outlet for your thoughts and emotions. Documenting your journey, including challenges and triumphs, fosters self-reflection and can be a motivational tool. A quit journal becomes a personal resource, contributing to the overall support structure.

Make a Plan and stick to it 

A well-defined plan is a roadmap to success in quitting smoking. Creating a personalised quit plan can make it easier to stay on track, monitor your progress and aid you through any challenging times in your quit journey. 

Here are some things to highlight when creating your quit plan: 

  • Your Quit Date: Highlight your quit date to help you keep track of your progress. 
  • What Is Smoking Costing You: It is good to identify how much smoking is costing you on a daily, monthly or yearly basis. It can also become a motivator. 
  • Why Are You Quitting? Identify why you are quitting or who you are quitting for. Understanding the specific reasons for quitting allows you to set clear and personalised goals. Having specific goals can make your quitting journey more tangible and achievable.
  • Identify Your Triggers: Identifying your triggers can help develop targeted strategies to address them. Whether it’s finding alternative coping mechanisms or creating a plan for high-risk situations, understanding triggers enables a more focused and effective approach to quitting or modifying behaviour.

Sticking to your plan ensures consistency and builds a foundation of trust within your support system.

Seek Medical Advice

Professional guidance from doctors, nurses, pharmacists, or social workers is a cornerstone of a strong support system. Seeking medical advice ensures that your quitting journey is medically supervised and tailored to your individual needs. Professionals can provide personalised strategies, prescribe necessary medications, and offer ongoing support. For more scientific information on the effects of nicotine and smoking, visit the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Resources to help you quit smoking

Quitting smoking is not just about willpower; it’s about surrounding yourself with the right kind of support and resources. By actively seeking out and leaning on these supports, you’ll bolster your resilience and determination, making the journey to a smoke-free life a little easier. If you’re ready to take the first step, reach out to Quit Clinics today. Our team of registered doctors and nicotine vaping product prescribers are here to support you 7 days a week, ensuring a fast, affordable, and trustworthy partnership in your quitting journey. The Australia Lung Foundation offers additional resources and support for those looking to quit smoking.

For more Help & Advice, see related blog articles here:

Dr Sam Murray


Dr Sam Murray is an Australian trained doctor with a passion for smoking cessation, harm-reduction, rural medicine and health technology. Sam studied medicine at the University of Newcastle, NSW before working in a variety of areas of medicine throughout regional and rural NSW.

In 2017 Dr Murray commenced his MBA at the University of Cambridge, UK before launching Quit Clinics in early 2020. Dr Murray passionately believes that the vast majority of smokers want to quit, and can quit with easy access to the right support, at the right time.

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