Yvette is just beginning her fourth quit smoking attempt and she feels a little embarrassed to be going to her GP for help yet again. But she doesn’t realise how common it is to have lots of attempts at quitting before achieving long-term success.1
“The average number of attempts for my patients are between five and seven times,” says GP and addiction expert Dr Hester Wilson.
In fact, research shows that by the time you’re in your 40s, you may have had up to 20 attempts to quit smoking in your life so far!1
What makes quitting smoking so difficult?
If you reach for a cigarette as soon as you wake up and smoke a lot every day, you may have a high level of nicotine dependency. This can make it tough to quit smoking and is just one of many factors that can affect the success or failure of your quitting attempts.2
Smoking isn’t just about physical dependence on nicotine either. For example, if you live or work with other people who smoke, you’ll probably find it tougher to quit than if you’re with non-smokers. Your pattern of smoking, your daily smoking habits and your environment can all play a part.2
Other factors can also affect your chances of success, such as feeling stressed, depressed or even believing that you just can’t do it.2
So what increases your chances of quitting smoking for good?
A good thing to remember is that every attempt at quitting prepares you for a better chance to succeed eventually. “I think I’m getting better at it,” Yvette says with a smile.
If you’ve ever tried to quit, especially within the previous year, you’re much more likely to try again, compared to someone who’s never attempted to give up.2
And remember, every time you try to quit, you’re more likely to reduce nicotine consumption compared to those not trying to quit.2
The other big factor that will increase your chances of successful quitting is your doctor.1,3 When Yvette was younger she thought quitting smoking was something to do alone. “It’s not a GP issue” she thought.
But research shows you’re 4 times more likely to succeed with the help of a healthcare professional, compared with trying to quit smoking on your own. So get the support you need throughout your journey to help you stay on track.3
Start a quit chat with your doctor today
© Pfizer 2019. Pfizer Australia Pty Limited. Pfizer Medical Information: 1800 675 229. Sydney, Australia. PP-CHM-AUS-0985, 10/2019
1. RACGP. Supporting smoking cessation: a guide for health professionals. Melbourne: The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, 2011 (Updated July 2014).
2. Greenhalgh EM, Stillman S, & Ford C. 7.7 Factors that predict success or failure in quit attempts. In Scollo, MM and Winstanley, MH [editors]. Tobacco in Australia: Facts and issues. Melbourne: Cancer Council Victoria; 2016. Available at http://www.tobaccoinaustralia.org.au/7-7-personal-factors-associated-with-quitting Accessed 17 September 2019.
3. West, R. (2012) Stop smoking services: increased chances of quitting. NCSCT Briefing #8. London; National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training.