Quitting cold turkey is the best way to stop smoking, study finds

03/16/2016 04:00 | 67276

Quitting cold turkey is the best way to stop smoking, study finds

People who quit smoking all at once are more likely to be successful than those who cut down on cigarettes gradually, according to a new study. People in the gradual quitting group reduced smoking habits by 75 percent over the span of two weeks leading up to an agreed quit date.

But, a new study has today quashed that theory, instead offering evidence that suggests the best way to give up is to go cold turkey.

Lindson-Hawley suggests that smokers should attempt to go cold turkey at first, but can attempt to quit gradually as it is still a viable option.

Dr John Hughes of the University of Vermont in Burlington offered in his own explanation that the people involved in the abrupt quitting were most likely to be the people who had tried the gradual quitting but failed.

The team recruited 697 smokers who had chosen to stop smoking for the study and split them into two groups. "However, regardless of what they thought they were still more likely to quit in the abrupt group", she said.

The second group - the abrupt quitters - were asked to continue smoking normally and not reduce their cigarette use. Some prefer to slowly reduce their nicotine intake before trying to quit, while others simply quit cold turkey. Lindson-Hawley is the lead author of the study, which was published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The researchers found out that by six months, 15% of the gradual smokers and nearly 22% of the abrupt smokers were still abstinent and had not smoked.

The gradual-cessation group received short-acting NRT devices (such as gum or spray) as well as longer-acting nicotine patches before the quit day.

The researchers followed up at four weeks and six months after the experiment started. But in a group of this size, those differences are considered statistical proof that quitting abruptly is a superior strategy to tiptoeing into the decision. However, since the participants were randomly assigned in groups, their preference did not affect which group they were assigned into.

By studying about 700 adult smokers, she found out that her mom quit the right way - by going cold turkey.

Funding for this research was provided by the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research United Kingdom, the U.K. National Institute for Health Research, and others under the auspices of the United Kingdom Clinical Research Collaboration. In order to monitor their success, researchers both interviewed the study participants and measured the amount of carbon monoxide each volunteer was breathing out.

Four weeks after their quit day, 49 percent of abrupt cessation participants were able to kick the habit compared to 39 percent of the gradual cessation group.

'It is important to note that these results were found in people who wanted to quit soon and who were receiving counselling support and using nicotine replacement therapy.

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