April 5, 2016

Should You Quit Cold Turkey?

If you are considering stopping smoking, you may be wondering if cutting down or switching to vaporised e-cigarettes is your best bet. In some ways cutting down and vaping are a way of bargaining with yourself, or trying to delay quitting. What’s more, they are the most effective method of quitting either.

New research from the UK has found that the most successful way to stop smoking is to quit cold turkey. The best quitters simply pick a day… and then stop!

The study, published in Annals of Internal Medicine, followed 697 people who smoked the equivalent of at least 15 cigarettes every day. All agreed to stop smoking within two weeks of joining the research project.

Half the group cut down on the number of cigarettes they smoking and nicotine replacement therapy too. The second group smoked as normal for two weeks and then stopped — although they could use nicotine patches and gum if they needed to.

So how do you think each group fared?

After a month, 39.2 percent of those who cut down hadn’t started smoking again, which is a pretty good result — but not as good as the cold turkey quitters. Of these, 49 percent were still not smoking.

The results are even clearer six months later. Here, 15.5 percent of the gradual quitters had not returned to cigarettes, versus 22 percent of the abrupt quitters.

“Our results should be particularly useful for those who want to quit and have no strong feelings about how they want to do it,” said the study’s lead author, Nicola Lindson-Hawley, a psychologist at the University of Oxford. “For them, the best approach is abrupt quitting. Still, 40 percent were successful in the reduction group, and this is better than we would expect if people received no support at all.”

Support is a very useful for anyone hoping to give up smoking. When you friends and family are rooting for you to succeed and are giving you their support, it is a lot easier than going it alone. And if you have tried nicotine replacement therapy, and it didn’t work for you, the Aspire technique which teaches you mindfulness, distraction exercises and goal-setting is a proven way of giving up the unhealthy and expensive habit of smoking.

Leave a comment