cold turkey vs taper

Quit Smoking Methods: Cold Turkey or Slow Taper?

The methods of smoking cessation are numerous. So much so, that the words ‘cold turkey’ hasn’t had anything to do with leftover Christmas dinner for a long time.

Instead, it’s come to be known as giving up smoking abruptly – simply going from being a smoker one day to a non-smoker the next. Another method is that of the slow taper, where a smoker gradually decreases the number of cigarettes he or she smokes until that number is zero.

So which method works best?

If a recent British study is anything to go by, smokers have a better chance of quitting if they go cold turkey.

Researchers from Oxford University worked with almost 700 current smokers, splitting them into two groups and instructing one group to quit cold turkey, and the other to opt for the taper method over two weeks.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the smokers indicated that they preferred the idea of the taper method. However, it was the cold turkey method that proved most successful with 49 percent of ‘cold turkey’ quitters giving up successfully after four weeks, compared to 39 percent of the taper group.

That’s an improved rate of 25 percent for giving up completely compared to slowly cutting down.

To help keep the results realistic, both groups were offered the same level of advice, support and nicotine replacement therapy options such as gum and mouth spray.

The large majority of current vapers are either ex-smokers or those who are currently ‘tapering’ their cigarette use by replacing tobacco with vaping. It may be of some use to those looking to cease the habit that cold turkey may offer a higher chance of giving it up for good.