People are more likely to stop smoking if they stop abruptly instead of trying to wean off slowly. A study by Annals of Internal Medicine shows volunteers who used this approach were 25% more likely to remain abstinent half a year from the date that they give up than smokers who tried to gradually wean themselves off instead.
The NHS says picking a convenient date to quit is important. Make a promise, set a date and stick to it. "Whenever you find yourself in difficulty say to yourself, 'I will not have even a single drag' and stick with this until the cravings pass," the service says. In the British Heart Foundation-funded study, nearly 700 UK volunteers were randomly assigned to one of two groups - a gradual quit group or an immediate quit group. After six months, 15.5% of the participants in the gradual-cessation group were abstinent compared with 22% in the abrupt-cessation group. Lead researcher Dr Nicola Lindson-Hawley, from Oxford University, said: "The difference in quit attempts seemed to arise because people struggled to cut down. It provided them with an extra thing to do, which may have put them off quitting altogether."
Even though the people in the investigation said that they would rather quit gradually than abruptly, these individuals were still more likely to quit smoking completely if they stopped abruptly. The lead researcher says that it is still better to cut down on cigarettes rather than do nothing at all.