Smokers Who Quit Gradually or Cold Turkey Have Similar Success

Mar 17, 2010 By Glenda Fauntleroy

Although many smokers try to quit by selecting a 'quit day' and going cold turkey, a new Cochrane review finds that quitting gradually might work just as well.

The authors evaluated 10 studies with 3,760 participants and studies had a minimum six-month follow-up period.

“All participants were asked to choose or were given a quit day to work toward, whether they quit gradually or abruptly,” said lead reviewer Nicola Lindson. “In these structured circumstances reduction was as successful as abrupt quitting.”

Lindson is a researcher at the U.K. Centre for Studies at the University of Birmingham, in England.

The review appears in the current issue of The Cochrane Library, a publication of The
Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates research in all aspects of health care. Systematic reviews draw evidence-based conclusions about medical practice after considering both the content and quality of existing trials on a topic.

The studies all differed on the instructions given to participants on how they should reduce the amount of smoked. For example, one study asked them to reduce their smoking by 50 percent over four weeks and then quit completely. Another study asked participants to reduce their smoking by five to 10 cigarettes per week over five weeks until they were not smoking at all.

Four studies gave participants either self-help information booklets or a handheld computer program to educate them on either of the assigned smoking cessation methods. Five studies gave participants either behavioral support through face-to-face counseling or via telephone calls, which taught strategies to help them avoid smoking when tempted. One study gave participants both self-help booklets and behavioral counseling.

Three studies gave participants replacement therapy, such as nicotine gum and lozenges, to help with either the smoking reduction or abrupt quitting.

Lindson said might benefit from choosing more than one method to find success, such as combining a reduction or abrupt quit attempt with behavioral support or .

“At present, reduction is not recommended by national guidelines in the U.K. and U.S., so many sources of support do not offer a gradual quitting option,” she said.

“The American Lung Association advocates that those who wish to quit smoking do so with multiple intervention techniques,” said Jessica Kelly, manager of Advocacy and Respiratory Health Programs at the American Lung Association of Indiana. “Most smokers need more than one attempt to quit smoking and some may find that different combinations of therapies will work better for their needs and lifestyle.”

The review discloses that one of its co-authors received consulting fees from pharmaceutical companies that make smoking cessation products and another received consulting fees from companies that market products and services to aid in .

Explore further: Oil-swishing craze: Snake oil or all-purpose remedy?

More information: Lindson N, Aveyard P, Hughes JR. Reduction versus abrupt cessation in smokers who want to quit. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2010, Issue 3.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Not ready to quit? Try cutting back

Dec 07, 2006

In a review article in the December Nicotine and Tobacco Research, researchers at the University of Vermont have found an unexpected, effective alternative to motivate smokers to quit smoking – cutting back. According to ...

Drug may help women stop smoking

Oct 09, 2006

Adding the opiate blocker naltrexone to the combination of behavioral therapy and nicotine patches boosted smoking cessation rates for women by almost 50 percent when assessed after eight weeks of treatment, but made no difference ...

Recommended for you

Suddenly health insurance is not for sale

Apr 18, 2014

(HealthDay)— Darlene Tucker, an independent insurance broker in Scotts Hill, Tenn., says health insurers in her area aren't selling policies year-round anymore.

Study: Half of jailed NYC youths have brain injury (Update)

Apr 18, 2014

About half of all 16- to 18-year-olds coming into New York City's jails say they had a traumatic brain injury before being incarcerated, most caused by assaults, according to a new study that's the latest in a growing body ...

Autonomy and relationships among 'good life' goals

Apr 18, 2014

Young adults with Down syndrome have a strong desire to be self-sufficient by living independently and having a job, according to a study into the meaning of wellbeing among young people affected by the disorder.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Mar 17, 2010
Of course, anything that the American Lung Association backs should be immediately suspect not only because they have ulterior motives in funding the studies (i.e. kickbacks from cessation companies) but because they've blamed in error numerous health issues on smoking and have the desire to cover up their falsifications.

Again, too, a report with no concrete numbers on PhysOrg. Time for another referencing session.

More news stories

UAE reports 12 new cases of MERS

Health authorities in the United Arab Emirates have announced 12 new cases of infection by the MERS coronavirus, but insisted the patients would be cured within two weeks.

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...