Maddie’s story: Taking baby steps to quit smoking

You don’t have to quit smoking all in one go. You can take baby steps. Take a ride with Dr Hester Wilson and find out how your GP can help.

Coffee and a cigarette. It’s the first thing Maddie does when she wakes up in the morning. It’s her breakfast, the way she starts her day. Every day. She has been smoking for 7 years now, and smokes about 20 a day, which, in her words is “a lot for a 5’3” girl”.

Although most of Maddie’s family used to smoke – both her Mum and Dad, sister and brother-in-law – they have all quit and put smoking behind them. Now Maddie wants to join them. She doesn’t want to be a smoker anymore: she’s tired of the effect it has on her quality of life and she doesn’t want her life to be cut short because of an addiction.1,2 With seven nieces and nephews constantly on her back about smoking, she knows that it’s now her time to quit.

Maddie hasn't spoken to her doctor about quitting smoking before, and she was relieved to learn from Dr Hester Wilson, GP and Addiction Expert, that “you don't have to do it [quit smoking] all in one consultation. It's something that can happen over time”.

Cutting down to quit, or “baby steps”, as Maddie calls them, can be a good way to get you started on the road to quitting long-term. It allows you to reduce the amount you smoke at your own pace without putting too much pressure on yourself.3 Studies have shown that people who cut down to quit have a similar chance of quitting smoking as those who stop smoking suddenly on their chosen quit day.3 To be effective, you still need to set yourself a quit date before you start cutting down.3

You don’t need to do it alone though; the first of these baby steps is to book a quit chat with your doctor. They can help you set a quit date and make a plan of how you should cut down your cigarettes by setting goals. Your doctor can also recommend some other types of support to help you during this process.3

It doesn’t matter how much you smoke or how long you have smoked, if you are like Maddie and just don’t want to smoke anymore, a quit chat with your GP can definitely help. After all, you’re 4x more likely to quit with the help of a healthcare professional compared to quitting unaided.4

©Pfizer 2019. Pfizer Australia Pty Limited. Pfizer Medical Information: 1800 675 229. Sydney, Australia. PP-CHM-AUS-0943, 08/2019
  1. Bellew, B., Greenhalgh, EM., and Winstanley, MH. (2015). 3.22 Poorer quality of life and loss of function. In Scollo, MM and Winstanley, MH [editors]. Tobacco in Australia: Facts and issues. Melbourne: Cancer Council Victoria. Available from Accessed 3 July 2019.
  2. Benowitz, N. (2010). Nicotine Addiction. New England Journal of Medicine, 362(24), pp.2295-2303.
  3. NHS Scotland. Cutting down to quit. Available at Accessed 3 July 2019.
  4. West, R. (2012). Stop smoking services: Increased chances of quitting. NCSCT Briefing #8. London; National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training.