The psychodynamics of quitting smoking were identified from observations of small groups established to study the cessation process. Three major issues emerged: 1) the expectation of failure, 2) the feared loss of control, and 3) the affective significance of the loss. Belief in success was a necessary precursor to actual success. A feared loss of control was common but seldom materialized to the degree anticipated. The dynamics of grief with associated tearfulness were central to the process of quitting.