2011-04-28 / Health & Wellness

Quitting cold turkey not out of the question, study finds

For many smokers, attempting to quit may seem like a daunting process that requires a wellthought out plan. Yet, according to research published in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research, many quit attempts in the U. S. are actually spontaneous and unplanned, which can be a successful approach to cessation.

In the study, almost 40 percent of subjects reported that their most recent attempt to quit smoking started without any planning in advance, suggesting that, for some smokers, setting a date to quit may not be as necessary as once thought.

In fact, unplanned quit attempts had more than twice the odds of lasting more than six months or longer versus the planned quit attempt.

While a period of planning before quitting has long been thought necessary to allow smokers time to prepare themselves to quit, the study explores the various reasons as well as demographic and psychographic data that may contribute to a smoker deciding to quit spontaneously.

“ The study examines the possibility that, while quit attempts may seem like spontaneous efforts on the surface, they may actually be the result of prolonged subconscious dissatisfaction with or a concern about one’s smoking,” said Dr. Saul Shiffman, professor in the departments of psychology and pharmaceutical science at the University of Pittsburgh and study co-author. “The results do not discredit planning out a quit attempt. However, a smoker needs to determine what may be the best approach to ensure long-term cessation.”

Shiffman said, “ All smokers should consider ways to manage tough situations, such as cravings and withdrawal symptoms, to ensure long-term success.”

Whether a smoker’s approach to quitting is planned or unplanned, smokers can take advantage of available resources and get help by using stopsmoking tools such as nicotine replacement therapy, which are available over the counter without a doctor’s prescription.

Provided by North American Precis Syndicate Inc.

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