Nicotine replacement or cold turkey? Opinions, personal experience etc.
I'm not a fan of cold turkey (smart turkey yes) but I did quit that way. I was ready to do my best in quitting so it was more that intention than the cold turkey "method." Not sure I believe in methods so much as believing that many things can be good aids.
What doesn't seem to work is when someone hopes that the patch will quit for them, or that wellbutrin will do it all. Seems most of us have got to get to the point of no smoking no matter what--smart turkey, aids or what have you.
I agree with Mary. I have used every NRT and prescription drug available and failed every time. This current (and final) quit is cold turkey and now 2 years old. My previous record was 11 months. However, I don't credit the method. It really is about my mindset. Here's a quote from a post I recently responded to on what I did wrong on previous quits:
Hope that helps! Welcome to EX!
Each has it's advantages. I'm a rip the bandage off fast - kind of guy. Others prefer to take it in stages. If you use NRTs I would recommend that you have a clear plan as to how much time you'll use them and follow the directions as indicated. A lot of people think the NRT will do it for them whereas it only buys you time to change your habits before you get the physical withdrawal. Wishing you the best!
I am “cold turkey” along with knowledge, preparation and a support group like Ex’s...that was and is me...if you keep a quit with replacements I say “go for it”...my past experience with NRT was withdrawal twice instead of once ...
Colleen 168 DOF
I used the patch because you aren't reaching for something every time you think of smoking so you break those connections.
I forgot on my 4th day but got through.
I forgot twice in a row the second week so I stopped using them. I put one in my wallet with the promise I would put it on rather than smoke.
I never needed it
Welcome to our community!
People here have been successful both ways. I was successful using Chantix. I do have some recommendations given later on in this response. There are two parts to this addiction - the physical and the psychological. The nicotine is out of your system in about three days, then it's your body getting used to life without it, then it's the psychological aspect of all the associations ad triggers built up over your time as a smoker. You might start old Cold Turkey - and if it's too tough, then have a Plan B available to you.
The important thing you can do right now is to educate yourself on what nicotine does to your body and mind. To that end, I highly recommend Allen Carr's “The Easy Way to Stop Smoking.” This is an easy and entertaining read. You can search for it online or at your local library. If you do nothing else to get ready for your quit, please do give this a read.
You should also read the posts here and perhaps go to the pages of folks who you think might be helpful. You might visit whyquit.com, quitsmoking.com and livewell.com for the good information contained there. @https://excommunity.becomeanex.org/groups/best-of-ex has lots of blogs written by members of this site with their experiences and guidance. Here is a video to inform you further about nicotine addiction: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpWMgPHn0Lo&feature=youtu.be.
After you have completed the recommended reading, it will be time to make an informed choice of the quit aid, if any, you will use. If you go that route, I personally recommend the aids that don't let the addict control the dose such as the available prescription drugs or the patch. If used properly, gum, lozenges and inhalers are fine, but they need to be used only as a last resort after you have tried to delay and distract. I have seen folks become addicted to them if they substitute them for every cigarette they used to smoke - just trading one addiction for another. You need to start out with a plan to reduce use of them over time - which the patch does by decreasing the dose contained in them.. For the gum, you can start by cutting each piece in half, then in quarters, then sub regular gum of the same flavor in between, adding more and more regular gum. For the lozenge, you need to start subbing a mint in between to begin, increasing the number of them over time. I do not recommend the e-cigarette for four reasons: 1) the vapor has been compared to the polluted air in Bejing on a bad day, 2) they just provide another nicotine delivery system while continuing the hand to mouth smoking motion, 3) the batteries can spontaneously catch on fire and 4) you can become addicted to that and it has not yet been proven safe .
It will be informative if you do the tracking and separation exercises recommended here on the site. As you track each cigarette smoked, note its importance, and what you might do instead. Put each one off just a little to prove that you don't NEED a cigarette just because you think you do.
The idea is to change up your routines so the smoking associations are reduced. Drink your coffee with your OTHER hand in a place different from when you smoked. Maybe switch to tea for a bit. If you always had that first smoke with your coffee, try putting your tennies on right out of bed, going for a quick walk, then taking your shower and THEN your coffee! Rearrange the furniture in the areas you used to smoke so the view is different. Buy your gas at a different station. Take a different route to work. Take a quick walk at break time where the smokers AREN'T. You need to distract yourself through any craves. You can take a bite out of a lemon (yup - rind and all), put your head in the freezer and take a deep breath of cold air, do a few jumping jacks, go for a brisk walk or march in place, play a computer game. Keep a cold bottle of water with you from which to sip. Don't let that smoking thought rattle around in your brain unchallenged. Sometimes you need to quit a minute or an hour at a time. You will need to be disciplined in the early days to distract yourself when a crave hits. Get busy! Here is a link to a list of things to do instead of smoke if you need some fresh ideas: https://excommunity.becomeanex.org/blogs/Youngatheart.7.4.12-blog/2013/02/25/100-things-to-do-instead-of-smokeThe conversation in your head in response to the "I want a cigarette" thought needs to be, "Well, since I have decided not to do that anymore, what shall I do instead for the three minutes this crave will last?" Then DO it. You will need to put some effort into this in the early days, but it gets easier and easier to do.
Stay close to us here and ask questions when you have them and for support when you need it. We will be with you every step of the way!
You're going to find varying opinions here. Every time this question is asked, there's lots of disagreement. So you need to do what works for you. I used Webutrin, nicotrol inhalers and the support on the Ex this time. The ultimate outcome is the same--to be a non-smoker. You still have to do the work , but there's nothing wrong with using an aid.
Best wishes for your success.
I’m pretty new here so this is just what I did , not saying it will work for you .
Quit cold turkey . Didn’t plan or have a quit day . Just was sick and tired of being anxious as to what damage smoking was doing to my body , tired of the money wasted , tired of the heartburn and acid reflux and just tired of being ADDICTED and a SLAVE to nicotine
I didn’t use quit aids because I figured , it was one more thing I would have to quit eventually so I just skipped them .
Its been told to me the success rate is much lower if you quit cold turkey but I don’t care . I’m going to be one of the ones who does succeed in quitting permanently and as you can see by some of the comments , several other have too .
Do what is right for you and you kick a@@
Stay purposely busy and distracted.
Exercise is my go to . Find yours . It really helps the cravings and your mind .
Good luck !!!! You CAN do this !!!!!
I'm a bit leery to bring this up because it seems to cause such hard feelings. But look closely at whatever source that tells you the success rate is lower for cold turkey. Look for two things: 1. What is the time period studied? For sure those using NRTs are going to be more successful in the first few weeks or months. They haven't given up the nicotine addiction yet. And, 2. Did they ask the respondents if they were still using NRTs at the end of the study? If not, the results are flawed. Not saying they don't help some people. But there is a lot of disinformation out there.
i have a tendency to agree with you . My friend who told me this is a pharmacist and like most manufacturers of products , especially for medical purposes , their is bias . They want to SELL you the products so one wonders if by default the “ cold turkey “ method has been beat down to have us believe it doesn’t have a good success rate .
Dont have the answers to all of your questions but my friend said within the first 12 . That’s how it’s gauged a success or not .
Those who are still not smoking after one year.
I did just find this though.
Yep, 12 months seems to be the standard. Unfortunately I know many people who haven’t smoked a cigarette in 12 or more months, but are more seriously addicted to nicotine now with NRTs than they ever were with cigarettes. And yes, a nicotine addiction isn’t as bad as a cigarette addiction. But it doesn’t have to be a choice.
I believe there is research from Mayo Clinic on this site. People who use NRT's are more likely to stay quit for a year than those who don't use them. I personally could not quit without NRT's. I tried. I have been successful for 5 1/2 years. I used patches and gum for over 1 year.
Quit Smoking Medication and Myths - YouTube About NRT from the Mayo Clinic
I had a number of interactions with him when he was the expert here.
"At least double the success rate"
I don't believe it.
People go back to smoking at the same rate after 6 months whether they use an NRT or not.
Don't know if I believe that either about double the success rate! I just hate it when sounds like using NRT is a bad thing and cold turkey is the only option. I worry some folks won't even attempt to quit if they're not "strong enough" to be successful without an aid. I'm sure there are some people who get addicted to NRT, but doubt is widespread. And if worse comes to worse, it's still better than smoking with all the other chemicals involved.
I agree. I just don't want people to believe the NRT is the only thing keeping their quit either. The NRT is a tool.
I quit cold turkey. It's been almost 4 years. I had tried every method before and failed. Patches, lozenges, gum, wellbutrin and cold turkey too. But I finally made it. I'm still an addict and always will be, but am not using anymore with the help of my HP.
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