We all know smoking kills, but that doesn’t make giving up the death sticks any easier.
While the government is introducing new measure on the sale of tobacco to make cigarettes seem less appealing to youngsters, what about the adults trying to give up the habit of a lifetime?
Do you go cold turkey or wean yourself off smokes? Well, a University of Oxford research team have uncovered the definitive answer.
Researching the best technique to quit, Nicola Lindson-Hawley of the University of Oxford, who led a new study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, said, ‘A lot of people think that the common sense way to give up smoking is to reduce the amount they smoke before quitting’.
The study examined 700 Brits who smoked 15 cigarettes a day, as they used the cold turkey and gradual cut down methods to quit smoking, respectively.
All participants set a quit date for two weeks. Half were randomly assigned to smoke normally until their quit date, then to stop abruptly. The other half gradually reduced their smoking over the two week period.
After two weeks, researchers assessed which group had quit smoking altogether, and then determined the continual abstinence rates after six months.
Almost half of the group who went cold turkey (49%) successfully quit after two weeks, while 39 per cent of the gradual group managed total abstinence.
At the half-year mark, 22 per cent of the cold-turkey group were still smoke-free, while only 15 per cent of the gradual group were.
Even if people wanted to quit gradually, they were more likely to quit if they used the abrupt method… The quit rates we found in the gradual group were still quite good.
If there are people who really feel they can’t quit abruptly, and they want to quit gradually—otherwise they won’t try to quit at all—we still need to support them to do that.
It is worth noting all participants were given behavioural counselling, nicotine patches and nicotine replacement therapy from products like gum, lozenges and mouth spray.
Yet, it seems determination and exercise of willpower are still your best friend when it comes to giving up smoking for good.