What About Quitting Smoking With Someone Else?

Sometimes natural opportunities present themselves to quit with someone else. It could be that your workplace, home or whole state is going smoke-free and this has prompted a number of people to try to quit. Is it a good idea to do it with others?

The evidence is pretty clear that getting social support with your quit attempt will increase your chances of success. There area few things to be wary of. If you and your spouse or close work colleague are thinking of quitting together then just be clear that you will both be under the stress of nicotine withdrawal at the same time. Its worth checking that your “buddy” is as serious about it as you are and is really willing to be supportive. One kind of social support that is often suggested is that of “buddying up” with someone else who is planning to stop smoking at the same time and the two people supporting each other with encouraging phone-calls, plans to spend the money saved on doing fun things together etc. Some studies encouraged people to do this and have found smokers who paired up with a buddy were up to three times more likely to quit. In one study, smokers were encouraged to see the nurse at their family practice for help to stop smoking. Half were seen on their own, and half were paired with another person, and encouraged to swap phone-numbers and support each other in quitting. A month later the people in the “buddy” treatment were more than twice as likely to have succeeded in stopping smoking. The evidence clearly suggests that quitting with someone else, even someone you don’t initially know very well, increases your chances of success.

Here are some tips on quitting with a buddy.
1. Try to find a friend, workmate or family member who will quit with you.
2. Agree on a quit date.
3. Agree together on something you’ll do with the money saved by not smoking.
4. Have a bet with your “buddy”, with the deal being that if either of you smokes in the next week, you both donate the money to some obnoxious cause (e.g. a political party neither of you likes).
5. Make sure you encourage each other every day, even if it is just on the telephone or by e-mail.
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About the Author

MA, MAppSci, PhD

Dr. Jonathan Foulds is an expert in the field of tobacco addiction.