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Smoking Reduction Programs

Harry Mills, Ph.D.

In order to successfully quit smoking, you need to break the links between smoking and many of your activities, such as finishing a meal, driving your car, having a cup of coffee or a drink, or dealing with stress, and you need to establish alternative behaviors for those times.

To begin your journey to stop smoking, you can contact Quit Now for free assistance at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669). You can also visit the How to Quit Smoking site to make a quit plan, learn how to manage your cravings, find social support, and sign up for free texts designed to help support you.

Some additional programs, which will have financial costs associated with them are discussed below. These can be options if you are still having trouble breaking the behavioral link to smoking.


stressed manSmokEnders is a commercial smoking cessation program that has been successfully helping people to quit for forty-five years. Rather than quitting all at once, participants in the SmokEnders program quit gradually over the course of several sessions while learning how to deal with both the physiological and psychological issues associated with smoking.

During the first four sessions of SmokEnders, smokers learn how to identify and understand their behavior as it results to smoking, and how to change this behavior. Smokers actually quit smoking after the fifth session, and then learn about weight management and techniques to reinforce their new lifestyle. Throughout the program, participants learn techniques to deal with smoking triggers for all nicotine based products, stress-management techniques, positive motivation, and tips to improve their self-esteem.

A study by Johns Hopkins University has concluded that SmokEnders is five or six times more successful than nicotine replacement therapies or Zyban used alone. SmokEnders is one of several different types of gradual reduction programs that emphasize dealing with psychological and behavioral issues while reducing participants’ addiction to nicotine. This approach makes participants better prepared to deal with cravings and lifestyle changes. In order to be successful, people who choose to use SmokEnders must be firmly committed to quit using tobacco and must carefully follow the step-by-step program.

Residential Programs

In addition to commercial seminar-type smoking cessation programs, there are also residential, medically supervised quit smoking programs for people who want to receive more support during the quitting process. Programs such as the Nicotine Addiction Program on the campus of St. Helena Hospital in California's Napa Valley wine country offer week-long intensive treatments designed to address the physiological and psychological aspects of nicotine addiction.

Typical residential cessation programs offer medical, psychological, behavioral, and group support elements, as well as nutrition and exercise provisions. In these programs, clinical counselors assist participants in understanding addiction, and physicians help with withdrawal symptoms. In addition, exercise therapists may assist participants in increasing their endurance, and nutritionists may help participants learn how to keep their weight under control. Participants also benefit from being surrounded by other people who share the goal of quitting smoking and who can offer support.