Researchers have long sought for answers on the best way to help people quit smoking. Often, it comes down to two options: quitting cold turkey or gradually tapering a smoking habit. But which one works better?
“A lot of people think that the common sense way to give up smoking is to reduce the amount they smoke before quitting,” says Nicola Lindson-Hawley of the University of Oxford, who led a new study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.
But the results suggested just the opposite: quitting cold turkey is best.
Lindson-Hawley and her colleagues looked at almost 700 people in England who smoked at least 15 cigarettes a day but who were planning to quit. They all set a quit date for two weeks. Half of them were randomly assigned to smoke normally until their quit date, then to stop abruptly. The other half gradually reduced their smoking over the two weeks leading up to the appointed day. Both groups had behavioral counseling, nicotine patches and nicotine replacement therapy from products like gum, lozenges and mouth spray. Read more