Sebastian and Thanh's story: How a team of supporters helped a workmate quit smoking

"It all happened at work one day", explains Sebastian. "We were a group of work colleagues and friends who'd known each other for about six years and we were talking about improving our fitness. One person in the group, Thanh, mentioned that smoking was preventing him from getting fit. So we were having this conversation about fitness, then about smoking, and then there was sort of this group consensus and we suggested that if Thanh wanted to improve his fitness and give up smoking, we'd all support him."

Find out how this group of colleagues and friends supported Thanh through his successful attempt at quitting smoking. 

Delay and distract – a practical quit smoking tool 

Sebastian and his workmates mainly used delay and distraction as a practical way to help their friend to quit smoking. "We'd come to the end of a short task where Thanh would usually go and have a smoko [break]. Instead, we would get up…and have a chat to someone at their desk for five minutes, or we'd go out the back and do 20 push-ups. 

"Sometimes we'd go and have a bit of a chat over coffee in the break room. We were working in a training organisation…so if he needed a longer distraction, we'd go and check that the classroom was set up for the next day. It was a [tight-knit] workplace and we all worked as a group to help. 

"Thanh talked to us about what it was like to quit [smoking] and admitted that it was tough at first. But the longer we kept working on distractions with him, the more success he experienced. It took a good week or a week and a half* and then he had developed the new habit to do something else when he had a smoking trigger. It was only when the new habits became ingrained that quitting [smoking] became easier,” says Sebastian. 

Sebastian recalls that as Thanh's fitness improved, he started to feel better about himself generally. This, in turn, improved his mindset and he felt more confident about his progress in quitting smoking.   

A small effort from supporters meant so much more to Thanh 

"Thanh was very appreciative of what we did to support him. It was a HUGE thing for him to give up smoking, but it was really just a small ask for us.

"He's since said how happy he is about the financial savings he's making by not smoking, and he especially appreciates the benefits this has had for his family. 

"Personally, I think it's brilliant. Thanh has improved his fitness and his family situation, and it was a great experience for us as a work team. Having a group that was helping was the most important thing. If you multiply the effect of many quit smoking supporters, imagine the impact you can have,” says Sebastian. 

If you have a friend, family member or colleague who you'd like to support while they are quitting smoking, have a read of some more supporter articles on Help to Quit to learn about the practical, social and emotional support you can offer that can make a real difference. 

* This is Thanh’s personal experience. On average, it can take 66 days to form a new habit.1

©Pfizer 2018
Pfizer Australia Pty Limited. Pfizer Medical Information: 1800 675 229. Sydney, Australia. PP-CHM-AUS-0632, 12/2018

1. James Clear. (2018). How Long Does it Take to Form a Habit? Backed by Science.. [online] Available at: [Accessed December 2018].