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Deciding to quit may not be enough

  • Comments (2)

A friend told me on New Year’s Eve that she was going to quit smoking.

After 30 years of smoking it was time to flush the fags down the loo and breathe easy.

The decision was inspired by the dentist telling her that her planned tooth implant would stand a better chance of success if she gave up smoking 6 weeks beforehand .

Her partner was less than supportive saying she spent more time talking more about giving up smoking than actually doing it and was sceptical about her chances.   

Great news,  I said – how are you planning to do it? Well, she said, she was just going to stop.  That was the extent of the plan.

As we know, giving up smoking is hard but sustaining the change is even harder. 

I was surprised to discover that my friend had no knowledge of any of the support available – for example,  smoking cessation groups or the Quit Kit that she could get from the chemist.

I gave her as much information as I could but it was not the ideal setting. Anyway, the subject was making her sufficiently twitchy that she was heading outside to have one of her last cigarettes of 2012 and ever, or so she hoped.

So what I am thinking is that health professionals have an important role to play in prompting people to give up smoking in 2012 but they also need to make sure that they know of the support that is available.

All the research shows that supported cessation is much more likely to be successful in the long term than the ‘I am just going to give up’ approach.  

Where do you stand?

  • Comments (2)

Readers' comments (2)

  • Anonymous

    Unfortunately, comparison of success rates across interventions can be difficult because of different definitions of 'success' across studies. There is evidence that a combination of supports, such as behavioural change, NRT, etc can increase chances of quitting. However, isn't it the truth that the most effective measure in decreasing smoking rates has been legislation banning it in public places?

    Questions also have to be asked about the training and resources available for Smoking Cessation Advisors. Not good, frankly.

    There are schemes which are currently offering financial incentives in the form of shopping vouchers to pregnant smokers (Tayside NHS already have a scheme in place). No proper evidence to support whether or not this is effective.

    Better research, evidence based practice (not this 'let's try this and see' approach), decent training for advisors and more resources may help. But, how much carrot and how much stick should we be using here? I mean, surely there is no excuse for smoking these days? Everybody knows how dangerous it is, don't they? Do we all have to keep paying for the poor health choices of the wilfully stupid? Do we think it morally right to pay them to stop? Or are we in danger of being too judgemental?

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  • Natalie Jewell

    Without wishing to sound defeatist most of my clients (5-19 years) who smoke have absolutely no intention of quitting because it is "cool". Many of them will tell you they began smoking because they were stressed which shows a lack of understanding about addiction and that behaviours from longterm smokers are passed to new smokers. There is a lot of room for education but for an audience that has very little interest generally speaking.

    On the other hand, for the few that do wish to quit, there aren't any age appropriate services to refer them to. This may be a good age group to target payments to stop at though. I'd imagine it would be more successful than offering to pay city bankers to quit smoking.

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