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Quitting smoking overnight 'better than cutting down gradually’

Last updated: 6.31pm, Wednesday 30th March 2016 by

"Want to quit smoking? Forget trying to cut down, if you really want to kick the habit 'going cold turkey is the best option'," is the headline from the Mail Online.

The news website reports on a trial by UK-based researchers that aimed to assess whether it's better to stop smoking gradually or abruptly. The researchers included almost 700 people and randomly assigned them to a gradual or abrupt stop in cigarette use. After four weeks, 39.2% of participants that gradually stopped smoking were still abstinent, compared with 49.0% that stopped smoking abruptly. Both groups had access to nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), such as patches or gum, after the quit day. At six months, the proportion of participants that still abstained from smoking had reduced to 15.5% in the gradual group and 22.0% in the abrupt group. The findings of this trial show promise, but going "cold turkey", as the headline suggests, may not be for everyone. That said, setting a designated "quit day" can be useful, as you can put into place "strategies" that can help you improve your chances of quitting. These include getting adequate stocks of NRT, or even something as simple as finding something to do with your hands – some people find worry beads very useful. You can find your nearest NHS Stop Smoking Service on the NHS Smokefree website, or you can call the Smokefree National Helpline to speak to a trained adviser on 0300 123 1044.

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