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Cold Turkey

Most smokers trying to quit will try to do so on their own at least once. However, those people who opt to go ‘Cold Turkey’ typically have a low chance of success — in one study over 90% of cold turkey quitters were smoking again after six months.

Cold turkey quitting has been around since the introduction of cigarettes. This is one of the reasons why we all know somebody who has quit successfully by going cold turkey. But that does not make cold turkey the best way for you to quit. Your determination is the key to any quit attempt, but you don’t have to go it alone. Getting help is not a sign of weakness, it just means that you are serious and want to give yourself a better chance of success.

Success rate of cold turkey

In contrast, smoking cessation aids like nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) can significantly increase a person’s chances of quitting by helping with the physical symptoms, like cravings. All forms of NRT approximately double a person’s chances of quitting smoking compared with going cold turkey. It is important to remember that it is not the nicotine in cigarettes that is directly responsible for the adverse health effects of smoking; rather it is the thousands of other chemicals that are found in tobacco smoke. NRT provides a ‘clean’ source of nicotine that can help with the withdrawal symptoms that most people experience when they try to quit.

However, stopping smoking involves more than just overcoming the physical addiction to nicotine. Getting additional behavioural support, like that provided by the NicabateCQ Committed Quitters® (CQ®) Programme can also improve your chances of success. The CQ® programme provides free personalised advice about quitting to all NicabateCQ users, 7 days a week.


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Use only as directed. Always read the label. Ask your pharmacist for advice. Last updated June 2002