Monday, July 23, 2007

Quit smoking cold turkey: Why it is better to use your mind

To quit smoking cold turkey, i.e. without the aid of pills or false cigarettes or herbal remedies, is often thought to be the most difficult ways to quit smoking. However, there is one specific reason why to quit smoking cold turkey is far and away the best type of method to use. The reason is simply long term success.

There are a vast number of options available to quit smoking on the internet and through health service providers. To name just a few, you can quit smoking using hypnosis, or nicotine replacement therapy or using zyban (wellbutrin or bupropion) or chantix (champix or varenicline).

These methods are all thought to improve your chances of quitting smoking in the first instance. Indeed there is a wealth of studies that show when you use these methods, your chances of quitting improve significantly. However, it is only when we look at the longer term that we find the initial success rates fall off and the long term success becomes poorer than the quit smoking cold turkey method.

The point is that initially, people who try to quit smoking using these pharmaceutical methods or even hypnosis, bio resonance or acupuncture may indeed be more successful than those who quit smoking cold turkey. In the long term though, these quitters have a lower success rate. It is much like the hare and the tortoise.

The tortoise is the quit smoking cold turkey type who has a very low success rate initially, but those who successfully quit using this method, rarely turn back. On the other hand, the hares rush off successfully stopping and then later, they struggle with their quit. But why is this?

Well, anecdotally, I know of people who have both succeeded and failed using hypnosis. I know few who have even tried to quit smoking using zyban or chantix. I also know (and was one) of many who have succeeded then failed with nicotine replacement therapy gum, patches, lozenges an inhalators.

With NRT and Zyban and Chantix, there is no ‘understanding’ of smoking. It is just 'magic'! Well, actually it is not magic but the people who try this method live in the vain hope that this medicine will solve all their smoking problems. It won’t because their heads are not 'straight'. Because they haven't addressed their emotional relationship with smoking and nicotine, they struggle in the long term to overcome their reliance upon tobacco. Hence they resort to smoking at a later time.

With respect to hypnosis, the most common approach is to use hypnosis to re-align your emotional response to cigarettes. This is done through the subconscious mind and again fails to address the emotional relationship between the smoker and their cigarettes.

When people attempt to quit smoking cold turkey, they have to deal with the emotional strain of quitting smoking. There are no supports or props to keep their mental fortitude in shape. These quitters have to take on the emotional roller coaster of the quit, head on.

By doing this, they become incredibly strong and durable to the challenge of quitting smoking. The challenge of beating their addiction to nicotine strengthens their resolve. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I cannot say how each individual quitter quits successfully when they quit smoking cold turkey. Everyone is different and so whether it is coping with cravings, realising they don't enjoy smoking or just turning their backs on cigarettes, it is different for each and everyone.

What I can say though is that most people who quit smoking cold turkey are happier than those who resort to other methods to help them. I can also tell you that most smokers who quit smoking cold turkey will have found one or two or up to 30 key things that they understand about smoking that they did not understand when they were a smoker. It is these 'secrets' that make quitting smoking for them possible. In some respects it makes them easy.

When I quit smoking, I did so full in the knowledge that I would never smoke again because I too had discovered the secrets. I knew how to quit smoking so it was a straightforward process.

So my advice to you is that if you must, quit smoking using any and every chemical aid you can. Try them all. If they work, you will be a non-smoker and that is something to celebrate. But beware; statistically, you are more likely to fall back into the trap of smoking. However, if you want to quit smoking and be at one with yourself, without the stress, consider the cold turkey methods available to you that require no chemicals or nicotine at all. But most of all, what ever you do, never stop trying to quit.

Why do people try to quit smoking before they know how to quit smoking? Pete Howells is the author of the EasyQuit System available only online at . He also blogs and post articles and videos at and at