Ask the Doctor: Do I really need to see a doctor regularly when trying to quit smoking?

An important part of the help you can get from a healthcare professional is follow-up care.2 Follow-up visits to your doctor to discuss your progress during an attempt to quit smoking have been shown to increase the likelihood of successfully quitting.2 After all, you’re up to 4x more likely to succeed in quitting with the help of a healthcare professional compared to quitting unaided.1

According to GP and addiction expert, Dr Hester Wilson, regular follow-up with your doctor is important for keeping you on track.

“Follow-up with your doctor is about making sure you have a treatment plan that is working for you,” explains Dr Wilson. “If it’s not working, we can talk through it. We can see what has worked, what didn’t and what we need to change.”

It’s common to have a number of attempts before quitting successfully.2 Seeing your doctor regularly is good strategy for preventing or addressing any slip-ups or set-backs that may occur.

So, what can you expect from a follow-up visit to your doctor during your quit attempt?

You and your doctor may discuss one or all of the following:2

  • Your quit plan and if anything needs to be changed.
  • Strategies for dealing with common smoking triggers, like stress and alcohol3, to help prevent a slip-up.
  • Any slip-ups or set-backs that you have had and what you can learn from these to help make a future quit attempt successful.

You and your doctor can work together to determine a follow-up schedule that works best for you. Remember that it’s an effective way to help improve your chances of quitting smoking.

“Quitting is a journey,” says Dr Wilson. “Understand that smoking is a really important thing to change. So, you need to put in energy, time and commit to it.”

©Pfizer 2018. Pfizer Australia Pty Limited. Pfizer Medical Information: 1800 675 229. Sydney, Australia. PP-CHM-AUS-0621, 09/2018

1. West R. (2012). Stop smoking services: increased chances of quitting. NCSCT Briefing #8. London; National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training.

2. Supporting smoking cessation: a guide for health professionals. Melbourne: The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, 2011.

3. Health. 6 common smoking triggers – and how to fight them. Available at,,20336078,00.html#coffee-21. Accessed 21 August 2018