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How Easy Is Quitting Smoking Cold Turkey?

How Easy Is Quitting Smoking Cold Turkey?

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Many smokers genuinely believe they can give up any time they like.

Many who believe and say they can give up when they want will have given up in the past – maybe for a few days, maybe for a few weeks. Perhaps they genuinely did find quitting easy – the effects of nicotine withdrawal vary from person to person.

According the latest UK Statistics on Smoking report, prepared by the government, 60 percent of smokers say they would find it difficult to go without smoking for a day – rising to 69 percent for those smoking between ten and 19 cigarettes daily, and as high as 81 percent for those smoking more than 20 a day.

The same survey found that 64 percent of smokers want to give up, while 75 percent have tried to quit at some point in the past. Of those current smokers who managed to quit in the past but relapsed, 22 percent managed to last a week, with only 29 percent lasting more than six months, and just eight percent lasting for more than two years.

The numbers speak for themselves – that’s a lot of frustrated quit attempts, considering that two-thirds of current smokers say they want to give up.

Is it as easy as just quitting?

If you hunt around the web to find out the most successful methods for giving up, you’ll find plenty of surveys and anecdotal reports stating that going cold turkey works.

The question is, how long does it work for?

The trouble is that these surveys are often not as straightforward as they appear – successfully giving up for a few weeks or months, which is often the timeframe used, is not the same as quitting for good. The American Cancer Society reports that only four to seven percent of people are able to give up smoking long-term without help.

Anyone who’s tried to give up smoking knows how hard those early stages can be. Who wants to go through all that again? If you give up, it’s better to give up for good than go through that hell all over again. Perhaps it’s called cold turkey for a reason – turkeys are hardly known as the most sensible of birds…

Why cold turkey approaches tend to fail

The trouble with this common approach of cold turkey quitting is it doesn’t take into account the other factors that make smokers want to smoke. The taste, the smell, the chemical effects of the smoke on their brain that make giving up so difficult.

Even after you get the nicotine out of your system and get over the worst of the chemical withdrawal symptoms, the psychological cravings will remain. Things you associate with smoking will remind you of the enjoyment you used to get – and although you can replace some of these, the temptation will niggle at the back of your head for months, if not years.

This is why so many quit attempts stumble and fail after a few weeks or months. Some people genuinely find it relatively easy to get over the initial withdrawal symptoms – but they frequently find it less easy to stay the course.

How to increase your chances of quitting for good

This is why your best bet is not to try and go it alone. Visit your local healthcare professional to get uniquely tailored help, advice and support, and you will be four times more likely to be successful at quitting for good.

A healthcare professional can help you get over not just the chemical addiction to nicotine, but also the psychological addiction – and it is this, the long-term dedication to staying smoke-free, that is the true route to success.

Going cold turkey is a short-term approach that can work for some, but rarely long-term. To really quit for good, you need a more considered strategy – and the best strategies come from seeking out expert advice.

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