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No puffs, no huffs

With more and more people going online, doctors are using cyberspace to encourage people to quit smoking.
By Damini Purkayastha | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUN 11, 2008 06:07 PM IST

Want to quit smoking? Go online. With more and more people inhabiting the virtual world today doctors are using cyberspace to encourage people to quit smoking.

There are websites that list out the dangers of the addiction, and also those that help you formulate a personal quitting plan.

The helping hand
At the Champs Club, an Indian anti smoking website, one can calculate exactly how much money one can save by quitting the cancer stick for a month/a year/five years and so on. It helps one understand what kind of changes the body will go through in the first 30 days of quitting.

The site has names of rehab clinics across the country where addicts who want to kick the butt can enroll for a three-month programme. Says Dr Gupta, a panelist, "Since the website was launched last month, we have received a number of enquiries. Four smokers have already enrolled. We expect a lot more soon."

Becomeanex.org helps smokers come up with personalised quitting plans, which map out when one needs a smoke and how it will affect them.

A blogger called ‘nocigarette' has collected anti-smok ing TV ads from all over the world. One Indian ad says, "Be nice to smokers, they don't have long to live."

Though India-specific anti-smok ing websites have yet to catch on, the Cancer Patients Aid Association India (CPAA) has an active website with a detailed section on "How to quit smoking". The section directs traffic to a website called whyquit.com that is headed by Joel Spitzer, a world-renowned antismoking campaigner.

Spitzer's reinforcement articles for those who have quit have been compiled into a 1.4 MB PDF e book called Never Take Another Puff. Since 2005, over 8,50,000 copies have been downloaded.

There are about 1,000 anti-smok ing meet-up groups on meetup.com, of which two are Delhi-based.

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