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Best Way To Quit Smoking May Be Cold Turkey

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For a smoker, quitting the habit can be a hard challenge with many attempting to give up only to fail. Researchers at Oxford University in England have conducted a study into the effective ways of giving up smoking and the conclusion is that going cold turkey could be the best approach.

It seems giving up cigarettes gradually doesn’t yield the same positive results as giving up suddenly. According to UPIthe study found that after four weeks, out of those participants who went cold turkey, nearly half were still not smoking. Whereas those that weened themselves off gradually over a period of two weeks weren’t so successful with only 39 percent being smoke-free.

The study involved 700 participants separated into two groups. One group were told to give up abruptly going from roughly one packet to nothing. The other group were asked to reduce the amount they smoked from half a pack, to quarter of a pack to nothing over the two weeks. Both groups used nicotine patches before and cessation aids like gum, afterwards.

Nicola Lindson-Hawley, who studies tobacco and health at the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences at the University of Oxford, says the findings show that people may have a misled attitude towards quitting. Comparing the process to running a marathon without training, Lindson-Hawley says “you wouldn’t just expect turn up and just be able to run it”.

If you’re training for a marathon, you wouldn’t expect to turn up and just be able to run it. And I think people see that for smoking as well. They think, ‘Well, if I gradually reduce it’s almost practice’

She claims that giving up gradually causes people to experience more cravings and withdrawal symptoms before they’ve even given up completely, as reported over at NRPDr. Gabriela Ferreira, who wrote an accompanying editorial for the study, backs up Lindson-Hawley’s remarks by stating that “if you’re ready to quit, quitting abruptly is more effective.”

I think that’s the piece that’s so convincing, which is that regardless of your stated preference, if you’re ready to quit, quitting abruptly is more effective

So what can smokers take from this research? Lindson-Hawley advises people to try quitting abruptly as her findings have shown. However, this process is clearly not easy and if cold turkey doesn’t work for you then try the gradual approach. At the end of the day, attempting to quit smoking is better than not attempting it at all.

The study has been published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

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