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Stop smoking support programs

Alternative Names

Smokeless tobacco - stop smoking programs; Stop smoking techniques; Smoking cessation programs; Smoking cessation techniques


It is hard to quit smoking if you are acting alone. Most smokers find it hard to break their ties to the smoking habit.

Smokers may have a much better chance of quitting when using a support program. Stop smoking programs are offered by hospitals, health departments, community centers, work sites, and national organizations.

The best programs combine many approaches. All smoking cessation programs need to target the fears and problems you have when quitting. They also need to provide ongoing support for staying away from tobacco.

Be wary of programs that:

  • ·   Are short and offer no help over time
  • ·   Charge a high fee
  • ·   Offer supplements or pills that are only available from the program
  • ·   Promise an easy path to quitting


Telephone-based services can help you design a stop smoking program that meets your needs. These are services are easy to use. The counselors can help you avoid common mistakes. This kind of support can be as effective as face-to-face counseling.


Telephone programs are often available nights and weekends. Trained counselors will help you decide which stop smoking aids to use. Choices may include medicines nicotine replacement therapy, and support programs or classes. They will help you set up a support network to help you quit.

You can find out about telephone counseling smoking cessation programs from:

  • ·   Your doctor or local hospital
  • ·   Your health insurance plan
  • ·   Your employer
  • ·   The National Cancer Institute's 800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669)
  • ·   The American Cancer Society's Quitline at 800-ACS-2345 (800-227-2345)
  • ·   The American Lung Association, which has online and phone advice programs
  • ·   State programs in all 50 states and the District of Columbia


Let your friends, family, and coworkers know of your plan to stop smoking and your quit date. It helps for people around you to be aware of what you're going through  -- especially when you are grumpy.

You may also want to seek out other types of support, such as:

  • ·   Your family doctor or nurse
  • ·   Groups of ex-smokers
  • ·   Nicotine Anonymous. This organization uses a similar approach as Alcoholics Anonymous. As part of this group, you will be asked to admit that you are powerless over your addiction to nicotine. Also, a sponsor is often available to help you get through urges to smoke.

Check with your employer, health insurance plan, or health care provider about different types of support groups. Also, check the website of the American Cancer Society or American Lung Association for other resources.


Stop smoking programs can also help you find a quitting method that suits your needs. They will help you be aware of problems that come up while you're trying to quit, and offer tools to cope with these problems. These programs can help you avoid making common mistakes.

Programs may either have one-on-one sessions or group counseling. Some programs offer both. Programs should be run by a counselors trained to help people quit smoking.

Programs that provide more sessions or longer sessions have a better chance of success. The American Cancer Society recommends programs with the following:

  • ·   Each session lasts at least 15 - 30 minutes
  • ·   There are at least four sessions
  • ·   The program lasts at least 2 weeks -- longer is usually better
  • ·   The leader is trained in smoking cessation

Hospitals, employers, and health insurance plans may offer this service. You can also the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association, or your local health department to find programs.

Internet-based programs are also becoming more available. These services send you personalized reminders using e-mail, texting, or other methods.


American Cancer Society. Guide to Quitting Smoking. January 17, 2013.  (accessed February 4, 2013).

Fiore MC, Jaen CR, Baker TB, et al. Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: 2008 Update. Clinical Practice Guideline. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Public Health Service, May 2008.  (accessed February 4, 2013).

George TP. Nicotine and tobacco. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 31.

Hays JT, Ebbert JO, Sood A. Treating tobacco dependence in the light of the 2008 US Department of Health and Human Services clinical practice guideline. May Clin Proc. 2009;84:730-735.

Kealey KA, Ludman EJ, Marek PM, Mann SL, Bricker JB, Peterson AV. Design and implementation of an effective telephone counseling intervention for adolescent smoking cessation. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2009;101:1393-1405.

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Counseling and interventions to prevent tobacco use and tobacco-caused disease in adults and pregnant women. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force reaffirmation recommendation statement. Ann Intern Med. 2009;150:551-555.

Updated: 2/4/2013

David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

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