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Cold turkey

What exactly does cold turkey mean? It usually means stopping smoking all at once rather than gradually cutting down to no cigarettes. Right?

But many people, when they say “I went cold turkey", mean that they quit suddenly and they quit without the help of quitting products.

Whatever your take on the turkey, studies shows that quitting suddenly with nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products or quitting medication is the most effective way. If you add Quitline into the plan you've got an even better chance. If you decide to use NRT, combination therapy is best: use NRT patch with a fast-acting NRT like mouth spray, lozenge or gum. 

If you feel like you've just had enough of cigarettes and want to stop immediately – go for it! Many people who quit for good quit on the spot. But add Quitline or NRT or quitting medication to the mix to make sure it's for good. 

If quitting all at once is too big a step, then cutting down may be a way for you to start.

Cutting down

Is the idea of quitting smoking all at once overwhelming? Studies show that cutting down is not as effective as stopping straight away.

Cutting down means reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke each day until you quit. You might decide to smoke only on the hour, for instance, then every two hours, until you’re not smoking at all. Or you might remove one cigarette from your pack each day until you’ve got none left. 

Tips to maximise cutting down

  • Remove your favourite cigarettes first (if you leave your favourites to last it can make it difficult to quit completely).
  • Make sure you have a clear cutting-down plan and a quit date.
  • Be aware that cutting down can use up a lot of energy (you don’t want to be tired of quitting before you begin).
  • Use a nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) product or a quitting medication to help you cut down. 
  • You’re more likely to have success when cutting down if you’re using Quitline. Or request a Quitline callback
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