Cold Turkey or do it gradually? Here’s your best quit smoking plan

  • ANI, Washington D.C.
  • Updated: Mar 15, 2016 11:33 IST
Researchers conclude that if you stop smoking abruptly you are 25% more likely to quit as compared to those who decide on quitting gradually. (Shutterstock)

If you are addicted to smoking, you know how difficult it is to quit. Now a new study suggests that quitting smoking all of a sudden is more abstinence compared to quitting gradually. Current guidelines recommend abrupt smoking cessation, where smokers choose a quit date and stop smoking; however, more people seem to prefer taking a gradual approach to quitting, where they cut back on the amount they smoke over time.

Physicians need to know if both approaches are effective so they can provide evidence-based advice to their patients. Researchers randomly assigned 697 adult smokers to quit abruptly or to gradually cut back on smoking before quitting. Participants in the abrupt cessation group chose a quit date with support from a nurse and stopped smoking on that day. Participants in the gradual cessation group reduced their smoking by 75% in two weeks leading up to an agreed-upon quit date.

Other than the cessation strategy, treatment was similar for both groups. Participants received behavioural support from nurses and used nicotine replacement therapy before and after their quit date. The researchers compared four-week and six-month abstinence between the two groups, and also assessed whether outcomes differed based on participants’ preferred method of quitting.

Watch: What happens when you stop smoking

They found that patients in the abrupt quitting group were 25% more likely to stop smoking in both the short and long term, regardless of their method preference. The study has been published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

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