Can Twitter help you give up smoking?

31 May 2012

To mark World No Tobacco Day, the Quit With Help campaign encourages people to go from a social smoker to a social quitter, and raise funds on the way.

Research shows that 70pc of smokers want to quit, but everyone knows the habit can be extremely difficult to break. In Ireland, one in every two smokers will die of a tobacco-related disease, and an estimated 5,500 deaths per year come as a result of smoking.

Fight cravings with status updates

This is why today, World No Tobacco Day, the Irish Heart Foundation has teamed up with Pfizer to launch the Quit With Help campaign, which encourages smokers to turn to social networks for support.

Singer George Michael famously used Twitter to help him to quit smoking last year and ‘social quitting’ is now an emerging phenomenon. Making a public pledge to quit and receiving support from your peers is a great motivation, and logging into a social network instead of lighting up can help to fight your cravings.

The average cigarette craving lasts from three to five minutes, so the Quit With Help campaign is recommending you reach for your smartphone instead of the smokes and distract yourself for those few minutes until the desire subsides.

Putting Ireland on the Quit Map

For further help in quitting, Pfizer has launched the Quit With Help website, an online resource offering tailored guidance and support for smokers through every step of the way.

The dedicated website also hosts a real-time web app that lets you track conversations on smoking cessation on Twitter across Europe.

The Quit Map shows that 2,800 tweets about stopping smoking were sent in the last week, but tweets from Ireland account for less than 5pc. This comes in spite of the fact an estimated one-quarter of the Irish population smokes.

#QweetWithHelp and raise money for the Irish Heart Foundation

The infographic below shows how quickly smokers can start to feel the benefits when they put down the cigarettes. After just eight hours without a cigarette, the risk of heart attack has already been reduced.

Whether a smoker, former smoker or non-smoker, you can help to raise funds for the Irish Heart Foundation with just a tweet. For every tweet containing the hashtag #QweetWithHelp, the Irish Heart Foundation will receive €1. So get tweeting, and stop smoking!

Smoking infographic Stop smoking image via Shutterstock.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.