You may have tried to quit before on your own and found it too hard. Research shows that there are two types of support that increase the likelihood of success:
- guidance from a professional advisor or coach to help you manage habits and emotions linked to smoking
- nicotine replacement products OR quitting medications (both reduce cravings and nicotine withdrawal symptoms)
Coaches provide structure, motivation and support. A good coach:
- Helps you organise what you need to do and offers reminders of when to do it.
- Helps you work out your reasons to quit.
- Builds your confidence and encourages you.
- Helps you learn new skills to manage cravings, withdrawal, weight and/or stress.
- Reminds you that things will get easier.
Proven, high-quality coaches:
- Quitline service has been evaluated regularly, and always shows high success rates. You can also join the Quitline call-back service for ongoing support.
- QuitCoach offers tailored quitting advice based on your answers to questions (but doesn’t have the personal touch of a Quitline advisor).
Other types of coaching:
- face-to-face counselling by a GP or trained Health Professional
- self-help books
Nicotine Replacement Products
Cold Turkey vs. Cutting Down
Summary: Quitting abruptly, with the help of nicotine replacement products or quitting medication, is the most effective method of quitting.
What is cold turkey?
The term “cold turkey” is most often used to refer to quitting abruptly or suddenly (rather than gradually cutting down to no cigarettes).
Many people refer to cold turkey as quitting suddenly, regardless of whether they are using nicotine replacement products or quitting medication. Traditionally “going cold turkey” meant that you quit suddenly without the help of quitting products.
What is cutting down?
Cutting down typically refers to reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke each day over time, to a point where you quit. Some decide to smoke only on the hour, for instance, then every two hours, etc. until they are going all day without smoking.
Which method is best?
Research shows that quitting abruptly is more effective than cutting down unless you are cutting down as part of a structured program where someone other than you decides when you can smoke.
If you decide to cut down it’s better to remove your favourite cigarettes first. Leaving your favourites to last makes them more enjoyable. This means it is more difficult to quit completely.
Some people quit successfully by cutting down, but it’s important to have a clear plan, and a quit date . Be aware that cutting down uses a lot of energy. You can get to a point of being over quitting (quitting fatigue) before you’ve even quit!
If quitting abruptly is too big a step, then cutting down is better than not trying at all. Either way, remember you will be more likely to succeed with a good coach like Quitline and with nicotine replacement products or quitting medication .