August 16, 2022


Quitting cold turkey, is it better than quitting gradually?

Do you want to quit smoking, but you don’t know which method to use? Quitting cold turkey or gradually quitting? Find out here!

When deciding to quit smoking, you have the choice between quitting cold turkey or quitting gradually. But is one method better than the other? Well, it all depends on your personality, situation, and other factors surrounding your decision to stop smoking.

Quitting smoking is, without a doubt, the best decision you can make. Smoking is very detrimental to our health. Not only for the smoker’s health, but also for the health of all those around—whether at the moment of smoking, passive smokers, or long afterward—second-hand smoke. (Did you know that second-hand smoke can harm your pets?)

When you stop smoking, you help improve both individual and ‘public’ health. But it is difficult, and you may not know how to quit smoking. Should you opt for quitting smoking gradually, or quitting cold turkey? Let’s dig in!

Quitting cold turkey vs. quitting gradually

  • Quitting cold turkey meaning:

It refers to stopping smoking immediately, without tapering off or using any nicotine replacement products. This method can be effective, but it’s also associated with some serious drawbacks. It can be extremely difficult since nicotine is a highly addictive substance, and using this method can lead to intense cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

  • Gradual quitting meaning:

You cut back on the number of cigarettes you smoke each day until, eventually, you don’t smoke anymore. This method can be easier than quitting cold turkey, as it allows your body to adjust to receiving less and less nicotine. By gradually ceasing smoking, you can benefit from nicotine substitutes (which can also help reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings) and also get the help of a health care professional.

Pros and Cons of each method

There is no perfect way of quitting smoking, as we stated before, stopping smoking abruptly is difficult. Especially because during the first few days without cigarettes, you may experience physical withdrawal symptoms such as cravings and psychological withdrawal symptoms like feeling restless or depressed. It is also common to feel irritable or aggressive. However, it is important to know that these symptoms are only temporary, they will eventually subside. With perseverance, patience, and time, you will overcome your dependence and lead a smoke-free life.

While it may take longer, quitting smoking gradually can be more successful in the long run because it allows you to wean off tobacco slowly. This is much better for your body because it reduces the risk of experiencing withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

One way to reduce your intake is to use the Kwit app to keep track of the number of cigarettes you have resisted. You can also identify which ones are easier to eliminate. This will help keep you motivated and focused on your goal.

Which quitting method is the best for you?

Although a study revealed that quitting smoking cold turkey is more effective than quitting gradually, this outcome is debatable. Drs. John R. Hughes and Elias M Klemperer of the Universities of Vermont and Burlington stated it is essential to differentiate between people who are already motivated to stop smoking and those who are not. According to the doctors, the thing that may have tipped the balance in favor of quitting smoking cold turkey was the fact that the participants were already motivated to quit smoking. Gradual smoking cessation is more effective for those who are not motivated to quit; it reduces their dependence and teaches them to cope with withdrawal symptoms for long-term success.

So, which method is best?

The best way to quit smoking will vary from person to person. However, there are a few things you can consider when deciding on how to quit smoking:

  • Your nicotine dependence. If you smoke multiple packs a day, you will have a harder time quitting cold turkey than someone who only smokes a couple of cigarettes. This is because your body will go through withdrawal when you quit, and the withdrawal symptoms can be very difficult to deal with. If you’re not sure if you can handle quitting cold turkey, it may be best to try a gradual approach.

  • Your support system. If you have people in your life who will help you through the tough times, you’ll be more likely to succeed than if you’re going it alone. Quitting smoking is hard, and it’s important to have a support system in place.

At Kwit, we have created our community. Talk to experts and people in the same situation as you. Join our community and become a Kwitter!

If you need support, do not hesitate to join our support group!

Feel free to join the Instagram community for more tips on quitting smoking.

For more advice follow us on social networks: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Photo by Steve Freling of Motor Oomph


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