You’ve tried everything to quit smoking: sticking to the patch, dabbling in bubble gum-flavored e-cigarettes, and seeking higher smoke-free plateaus through tantric yoga. You’ll make it a few weeks—maybe even months—and then that one little slipup sends you spiraling back down the rabbit hole of addiction. Well, don’t be so hard on yourself; you probably just haven’t found the right quit-smoking strategy yet. One we think might actually work: support groups on the Web. A new study from the University of Georgia suggests that smokers who join online communities dedicated to quitting get the support they need to leave the butts behind forever.
The study’s author, Joe Phua, Ph.D., took an in-depth look at several websites (iVillage, Inspire, and Quit Smoking Support, to name a few) that offered online support groups for smokers wanting to quit. He found that by providing instant access to support, these websites made it easy for smokers to fight cravings and withdrawal pains. “The main benefit of sites for quitting smoking is that they 1) are convenient, 2) can be accessed any time and from anywhere, and 3) can be used to chat and meet with others who are also trying to quit,” explains Phua.
Apps can also play a big role in beating cigarette addiction: “They can help ‘on the fly;’ that is, a person can open the app at that very moment he or she is thinking of lighting up a cigarette, and get access to advice and other information to refrain from doing so.”
Ready to kick your habit for good (or help a friend toss the cigs)? Phua recommends the smoke-free communities and forums on these sites. (Facebook has several quit-smoking groups as well.)
5. Why Quit