Once an individual has finally reached the point where they realize it is time to quit smoking they have already undergone a major change in the way they are thinking. Chances are that they have come to realize how dangerous smoking is and they want to lower their risk of exposure to this habit as quickly as possible. For this reason, many have chosen to quit “cold turkey” without picking up another cigarette.
There is no question that the cold turkey approach to quitting smoking is by far the most favored approach. Statistics show that more people will attempt to quit smoking this way than all other methods combined. This no strings attached method is popular for many reasons; there are neither political connections to be gained nor are there going to be any donations to your favorite charity if you try it. Cold Turkey represents a commitment that you have made between you and your habit and no one else. You will be the only recipient of the rewards when you quit.
However, while so many have chosen to quit in this manner the results are dismal to say the least among first timer quitters. Statistics tell us that only about 3-6% are actually able to quit without any additional help. The reason for this is that quitting smoking is harder than one might think. According to Health Magazine,
Most smokers are both physically and psychologically addicted to cigarettes. As a result, when they give up smoking, their bodies experience withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, insomnia, and depression, which can last up to three months.
If you’re still determined to try this most natural way of quitting and you want to be in that 3 – 6% group here are some things to remember while you’re working your way through it.
One of the most popular reasons you might want to quit smoking cold turkey is because it costs you nothing. Unlike other methods for quitting, there is a price to pay for the patches, gums, medications, and counseling sessions. There is no one to sit and list to your emotional baggage as you work through your subconscious mind to discover why you keep going back. It is just you and your commitment.
Have a Plan
While you may feel that you don’t need to commit to sessions, doctor’s visits, and resort to NRT (nicotine replacement therapy) this does not mean that you shouldn’t have a plan. It is still a process that requires some forward thinking on your part.
Choose the date you want to start and clear out any items that remind you of your old habit. There should be no burners, ashtrays, matches etc. in your immediate vicinity.
Confuse your mind and body by changing up your routine; keep this up until your withdrawal symptoms have begun to subside. Once you’ve passed that point you are more likely to be successful in your attempts.
And keep yourself busy. If you’re occupied all the time you are less likely to think of the cigarette you wish you had. Your mind will be focused on other things that you won’t have time to think of cigarettes.
It Is Hard
There is no question that there will be challenges in quitting smoking this way. Professor Simon Chapman recognizes that while this may be the more natural way of quitting it won’t be the best way for everyone. Notice his comments to ABC Health & Wellbeing on this topic,
Quitting cold turkey isn’t for everyone though: there are some people who will need assistance…. See the alternative – going it alone – put forward as a viable option in public health messages about giving up.
There are successes on both sides of this issue so each person will have to weigh the costs and options for themselves. They also need to realistically understand that the success rates for neither of these attempts are very high. On average it will take several attempts for most people to finally break themselves of this very addictive habit.