Social support includes informal support such as from family, friends, or co-workers, and formal support such as from a support group, or the support of a health care provider.
Smokers who have a higher self-efficacy increase their chances of success, and the more they receive encouragement, the more they feel they will be successful. Smokers using the "buddy system" have been shown to be more likely to maintain abstinence, and the role of social support has been a predictor of success in many study groups including women, pregnant women, youth and those who are hospitalized.
Women rate the importance of social support for quitting more highly than men. They are more likely to join smoking cessation groups, and they place more importance on emotional support for their quit attempt. In addition, women who have social support are more likely to succeed with quit
attempts than those who do not.
Social support can take a variety of forms, but the support of a spouse or partner may be the most important. Research indicates that living with a smoker makes it harder to successfully quit, especially for women. Though the support of a spouse through not smoking is ideal, if a spouse, partner or other family member continues to smoke, a secondary way to demonstrate support for a quit attempt is to ban smoking in the home.
Young people with friends and family members who smoke are more likely to be smokers. At the same time, peer pressure can encourage youth cessation. Studies among employed adolescents found that encouragement from peers to not smoke or to stop smoking increased self-efficacy beliefs.
Intra-treatment social support: This form of social support usually comes from a health care provider as part of a treatment program and is defined as "an intervention component that is intended to provide encouragement, a sense of concern, and interested empathetic listening as part of the treatment." Characteristics of intra-treatment are:
Extra-treatment social support: This form of social support includes the patient recruiting support from family, friends, and/or co-workers outside of their treatment plan. Practitioners can help patients recruit extra-treatment support through:
Offering multiple forms of smoking cessation interventions increases abstinence rates.
Local Support Groups are available statewide. Find available cessation support groups and their contact information.