When smokers decide to drop off cigarettes, they have several treatment options to choose from. One of them is to quit smoking cold turkey. But the big question is: how can smokers quit smoking cold turkey? This article answers this question and more.
What is quit smoking cold turkey?
According to Wikipedia, “ “Cold turkey” describes the actions of a person who gives up a habit or addiction all at once — that is, rather than gradually easing the process through gradual reduction or by using replacement medication.” In simple words, quitting cold turkey is getting off cigarettes all at once without the assistance of nicotine replacement therapies, pills or any formal remedy.
Suffice to say there are lots of arguments going back and forth over this stop smoking methodology. Some disagree with its abrupt cessation nature saying because smoking is an addiction; you can’t just stop one day. They posit that you have to gradually reduce your level of cigarette intake until you no longer feel the urge to smoke. Such people advocate a gradual cessation method.
But quit smoking cold turkey proponents say it’s the only way to go; it’s either complete cessation or no cessation at all! They insist it’s the best way because you would have effectively quenched the psychological cravings all on your own so you are less likely to light up again.
Should you quit cold turkey or not?
Cold turkey is the most popular smoking treatment option for most smokers when they decide to get rid of their tobacco addiction. But, they are not usually successful with it. The success rate hovers between 4-10% per try. Most times, smokers have to try this method several times in order to achieve success. The good thing is that there are many people who have successfully quit smoking using the cold turkey way. But they confess it wasn’t easy.
Whether you should quit cold turkey or not depends on a number of factors such as your day-by-day routines, the level of your addiction and the amount of support you get from friends and family. Experts say quitting cold turkey may not work for smokers who are deeply addicted to nicotine because of the physical and psychological addiction that might have arisen as a result.
Whether you should quit cold turkey or not also depends on you, as a matter of factly. Do you have the will power and determination to pull through the first few days after you smoke your last cigarette?
The fact that other people have been successful with the cold turkey method doesn’t mean that all smokers will be successful with it because what works for Mr A may not necessarily work for Mr B. If you are strong-willed and think you can tough it out, then give it a try. If it doesn’t work, try another approach.
Why is it hard to quit smoking cold turkey?
It’s hard to quit smoking because tobacco addiction is a 3-pronged addiction-physical, emotional and psychological. As a result, when smokers drop off cigarettes, their bodies experience nicotine withdrawal symptoms such as touchiness, sleeplessness, and dejection, which can last between 2 – 4months. For most smokers, giving up cigarettes is not a big deal but being able to cope with the physical withdrawal symptoms is the albatross which has led them back to smoking again and again.
Tips to help you quit
* Make a list of all the good reasons to stop smoking. Ask yourself why you want to quit, make out an irresistible case, and keep dwelling on it, until you can’t wait to stop!!! Go for it, but only when you are ready.
* Decide when you are going to quit after you have thought deeply about your decision and how you are going to deal with any crises that comes up as a result. As a matter of fact, you need to sort out your head before you quit. Trying to do it afterwards is what makes it hard. If you prepare yourself adequately, you can easily overpower the cigarette withdrawal symptoms completely.
* Reflect back to when you picked the smoking habit, and remember why you started it. If it was to impress someone, ask yourself, “who do I need to impress now?”
* Learn what sparks off your desire to have a cigarette by all means. A lot of it is psychological; maybe someone asks a question you don’t want to answer or you feel good about something, so you ‘reward’ yourself with a cigarette.
* When you do quit and feel the need for a cigarette, take in a deep breath and let it out slowly. If a have a strong desire to smoke, try drinking water or chewing a piece of gum. The water helps to flush the nicotine from your body, so, drink a lot of it. Every time you resist the urge, give yourself a little bit of chocolate or a different treat.
* Also, exercising can keep your mind off everything, including smoking and food! Get some exercise because quitting smoking tends to bring about weight gain. Simply walking in the mornings can relieve stress and over a couple of months, you can graduate to jogging and then running. The buzz you get from exercise is far better than nicotine.
* Politely ask your friends who are smokers to avoid smoking when you are around. If they are true friends, they will happily take to this request.
* Get past the first week and it gets easier from there.
* Avoid alcohol or coffee. Anything associated to lighting up must be kept at an arms length including ashtrays and lighters.
* If you find the motivation to quit is not there, you can motivate yourself by watching a film on lung cancer or by visiting a dentist to look at the teeth of smokers.
* Get Busy. Having a hobby you are passionate about can also help in the early stages of your quit smoking decision.
*Put the money you are saving by not buying tobacco aside and reward yourself for a job well done.
Upsides and Downsides
A major upside of the cold turkey method is its no-cost nature. It’s free of any charge, has no side effects, and can help you stay quit for as long as possible unlike other smoking cessation methods but the downside is it can be quite tough for some people and requires a strong will for success.
There are only two words for going cold turkey: self control. It’s not bad to quit smoking cold turkey- though it might be a bit hard on you and your family because you may get mood swings from not getting your usual dose of nicotine.
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