Quit Cold Turkey

According to an article in the New York Times, cigarette smoking is harder to quit than heroin. One of the hardest ways is trying to cold turkey. Most smokers try this strategy—stopping all at once without the help of medication, nicotine replacement methods, or any formal therapy—on their first attempt to give up cigarettes.

For example, 56 percent of those interviewed believe quitting cold turkey is the most effective way to quit smoking, but only about 3% to 10% are actually able to kick the habit without help.

Researchers have studied why smokers' intentions who try to quit cold turkey often fizzle out within days or even hours. If smokers aren't yearning for a cigarette when they make the decision to kick the habit — and most aren't — they aren't able to foresee how they will feel when they're in need of a nicotine buzz.

Dr. Andrew Weil offers this advice: “If you're determined to quit, you have many options — acupuncture, hypnosis, nicotine gum and support groups. All can help, but no single method works for everyone. Whatever method you choose, if you don't immediately succeed, recognize that very few people do, and keep trying. The best predictor for eventual success is making repeated attempts to break the habit.”

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