Be prepared to hear some confusing information

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

13 Nov 2003, 04:58 #21

Next week will be the 27th Annual Great American Smoke Out. The media blitz is likely beginning to happen in many areas now, although next week will likely be worse. I thought we had better get our readers prepared for the onslaught of information and misinformation that is abundant at this time of year. Also read the string on The Teaching of Conventional Wisdom at Freedom. There is likely going to be a lot of conventional wisdoms being shared in the media over the next few days and we want to make sure that none of it shows up here and is mistaken as factual and helpful information.
Last edited by Joel on 12 Apr 2009, 07:16, edited 1 time in total.

John (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

13 Nov 2003, 07:17 #22

Below is WhyQuit's press release for the 27th Great American Smokeout. It will be released for publication on November 14 at 5 am EST and we wanted to put it out for those of you who may want to email us with any problems you see or correction that are needed. Feel free to submit it to your local newpapers should you so desire. Also, a big thanks to Marty and Alyson for contributing to this year's GASO release.

Great American Smokeout Hijacked
When the American Cancer Society held the first Smokeout in 1976 it was to make smokers aware of the importance of quitting, to provide a firm date for getting started, and to share literature on how to succeed. Twenty-six Smokouts later it has been transformed from a national quitting day into a day for selling new methods to replace the nicotine within the bodies of those addicted to it.

(PRWEB) November 12 2003--The 27th Great American Smokeout is this Thursday, November 20. If you are a smoker then get ready to be bombarded by a flood of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) commercials. They'll likely imply that quitting cold turkey requires mountains of willpower or Herculean strength. They'll tell you that by buying and using the nicotine gum, patch, lozenge or inhaler that you won't have to be some super hero to quit.

Even while unknowingly inviting the fox (nicotine) into the hen house (filled with nicotine addicts), a 1997 American Cancer Society press release assured the world that its new NRT pharmaceutical industry partnership was toward "efforts to expand its education of products and methods relevant to smoking cessation."

A visit to the American Cancer Society's online "Guide for Quitting Smoking" reveals just how far education expansion has come. Visitors will find 250 lines of type devoted to a growing array of NRT products, followed by one lone vague reference to quitting cold turkey.

Once the staple of quitting and cornerstone of the Society's cessation program, the sale of its trusted name and logo to NRT pharmaceutical interests may have brought it millions of dollars but not without cost.

This week we'll likely again watch as its name and credibility is invoked in a cold turkey bashing campaign designed to cause those addicted to nicotine to shy away from their natural inclinations.

Pharmaceutical industry literature, websites and commercials proclaim that few cold turkey quitters succeed and that the gum, patch or lozenge has been proven to double your chances of quitting for good. But is it true?

Are cold turkey success stories few and far between? Are most successful quitters quitting with the help of the nicotine patch, gum or lozenge?

Not according to Joel Spitzer, a 26 year Chicago quitting programs director and director of education at the internet's oldest cold turkey quitting forum, hosted by "Contrary to the bill of goods being sold to smokers, most quitters are still quitting cold turkey and more importantly the vast majority of successful quitters also quit by going cold turkey," says Spitzer.

Surprisingly, the Society's own research appears to support Spitzer's contentions. Surrounded by almost mandatory NRT use recommendations, page 25 of the American Cancer Society's Cancer Facts & Figures 2003 report contains a table indicating that 81% of current quitters and 91.2% of former successful quitters quit entirely on their own without any resort to quitting aids.

"Save your hard earned money," says Spitzer, "quitting should cost you nothing. Don't trust me but instead do your own survey by talking to family and trusted friends who have successfully have been off of all nicotine products for at least a year. Ask them how they did it."

If 91.2% of successful quitters did not use the nicotine patch, gum, lozenge, hypnosis, acupuncture, Zyban, Wellbutrin, Smoke-Away, magic herbs or any formal quitting program, what are their secrets, why are they not being shared and why constantly undermine the world's most productive means of quitting?

"Most people succeed by coming to grips with the idea that to stay smoke-free they cannot take a puff on a cigarette," says Spitzer. "Try to find one person who once had quit but are now smokers again who didn't take a puff. Finding one such person is going to take you the rest of your life."

There have been a few important study developments since the last Smokeout that quitters might want to contrast with the American Cancer Society's website assertion that "about 5%--16% of people are able to quit smoking for at least 6 months without any medicine to help with withdrawal."

A March 2003 study published in Tobacco Control combined and averaged the results of all seven over-the-counter nicotine patch and gum studies and found that only 7% of participants had not relapsed to smoking within six months. But it might be even worse.

A just released November study, also published in Tobacco Control, found that as many as 7% of all nicotine gum users and 2% of patch users are still using NRT at six-months. When combined, the two studies present a legitimate concern - are any gum users actually breaking free from nicotine while using it?

"Historically, the literature has seldom examined dependence on NRT," asserts the November study whose primary authors were Saul Shiffman of the University of Pittsburgh and Dr. J.R. Hughes of the University of Vermont. "We estimate that 36.6% of current gum users are engaged in persistent use."

Confused yet? Don't feel alone. As the November study suggests, part of the variance stems from the fact that NRT studies defined quitting as quitting smoking but not necessarily breaking nicotine's grip.

If you've already given your share of quick-fix magic cures a try, you may want to consider an invitation to return to the Smokeout's 1976 roots -- a day to quit, actually quitting for a day, and reading some solid nicotine dependency recovery information.

Marty, a London, England ex-smoker of three years recently extended a caring hand across an ocean of doubt and denial in posting a Smokeout invitation to Americans. "One day, one moment, one simple decision was all it took to change my life forever ... one simple click to

Another online quitter of a year and a half, Alyson from Brooklyn, New York, shared Marty's invite in asking that you reflect upon whether "you smoke because you want to or because you have to?" "Try not smoking for a day to find out," encourages Alyson.

According to Spitzer, "our members and the vast majority of long-term ex-smokers have learned what they need to do to successfully stay smoke-free which is simply knowing to never take another puff!"


About the Author: John R. Polito is a South Carolina nicotine cessation educator and the 1999 founder of


Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

20 Nov 2003, 18:45 #23

Even articles I am in can have confusing information. This is a article that I was told by the author was sent out to 40 newspapers nationwide yesterday in preparation for the Great American Smoke Out. You will see that she had very little luck in finding other professionals who would agree with my view. I am not surprised by that fact. It is not easy to find professional who agree with cold turkey being a particularly effective means at quitting. It is however relatively easy to find lots of people who would agree that cold turkey is the most effective method to quit. The people I am referring to are the ex-smokers of the world. They will often advocate cold turkey because it is the way that the vast majority of the millions of ex-smokers worldwide quit. For the record, it would be good to read the two articles Who Should You Believe? and Quit Cold Turkey. They add additional insights to issues discussed in this article.


How Best to Quit Smoking? Research Data Are Elusive

c.2003 Newhouse News Service

You're a smoker. The 26th annual Great American Smokeout is Thursday. You'd like to participate and you want to use the single most effective way to quit, the one method that the majority of former smokers used with the greatest success rate.

Sorry. That information doesn't exist.

For all the decades of surveys and polls on smoking, identification of the best way to stop remains elusive -- and controversial.

"It's amazing how much research is done and amazing how little we know about how successful smokers quit," said epidemiologist Stephen Marcus of the Tobacco Control Research Branch of the National Cancer Institute. "The more we get into it, the more complex it is."

Such as: What, exactly, is a former smoker -- someone who hasn't smoked after six weeks, six months, six years? How about a smoker who hasn't taken a puff in 20 years, then suddenly smokes for one week but quits again. Is that person a failure? And what about smokers who quit before nicotine replacement therapy came into use -- might they have quit more easily and faster with a patch or gum?

Most former smokers go cold turkey, meaning they just stop. About 91 percent of ex-smokers used that method, according to the National Health Interview Survey 2000 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And yet the American Cancer Society advocates a combination of "pharmacological interventions and community/behavioral support" in its Cancer Facts & Figures 2003 report.

"If everyone could quit by willpower, we'd have far less smoking," said physician Michael Thun, chief of epidemiological research for the society. "For many people, quitting is extremely difficult."

Nicotine replacement and other drug therapy, Thun added, "aid in the increased chances of successful quitting."

Joel Spitzer disagrees. As a nicotine cessation counselor for nearly 30 years, he's conducted thousands of cold-turkey workshops. He's currently the smoking prevention and cessation consultant to health departments of Evanston and Skokie, Ill., and a founder of

He insists cold turkey works best. Period.

Spitzer has witnessed countless people quitting, some cutting back gradually or using nicotine replacement, others going cold turkey. "It's probably harder withdrawal the first few days going cold turkey," he said, "but then in the fourth day, it's a lot easier for them," while others continue to struggle.

Smokers who quit cold turkey are consistently more successful, he added.

"Over 85 percent of people who went through my clinics last year had tried nicotine replacement therapy products and have now basically written off the experience as a waste of time," Spitzer said.

The problem, he added, is that the cold turkey method has no public advocate. "There's no money to be made if you're just telling people to stop smoking" without offering a drug or product to help, he said.

But it's more complicated than that, said Daniel Seidman, clinical director of the Columbia University Tobacco Cessation Clinic in New York City.

"I've treated a lot of strong-willed people who are still not able to quit," Seidman said. "I think there are great medicines to help make it easier, but that's not meant to be the whole story."

Seidman, co-editor of the book "Helping the Hard-core Smoker: A Clinician's Guide," added that "people may put too much emphasis on medicines."

What's needed, he and others said, is more guidance on how to use the drugs properly, as well as counseling and support.

"Drugs without behavioral support are not nearly as effective," said Glen Morgan, a program director at the Tobacco Control Research Branch of the National Cancer Institute.

When quitting smoking, Morgan added, "there are many roads to mecca. If one method doesn't work, go back and look at what you can do differently."
Last edited by Joel on 12 Apr 2009, 07:17, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

23 Dec 2003, 00:11 #24

With the upcoming New Years just a little over a week away it is time to be prepared for the onslaught of promotion for the latest and greatest gimmicks to quit smoking. My AOL New alert popped up two this morning, about how much hope there is for people quitting now because of the advancements in science.

Here is my personal favorite of the two "news" items from this morning:
Smokers Get Cutting Edge Technology to Fight Age Old Habit in the New Year

RESTON, Va., Dec. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Millions of smokers attempt to kick their habit cold turkey, or by using nicotine replacement therapies and herbal elixirs, but quickly learn that quitting is not easy. This year, they can count on technology to get them through the rough spots with a handheld computer called QuitKey(TM). The QuitKey approach to quit smoking culminates 20 years of research. It was developed and proven effective with grants from the National Institutes of Health and
builds on the enormous success of LifeSign(TM), a first generation smoking cessation computer that uses the same gradual reduction technology. QuitKey first tracks the smoker's habit and then tailors a gradual quit plan that is just right for the smoker....

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

30 Dec 2003, 02:40 #25

I just got the following Public Service Announcement in my AOL news alert:

Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop Commemorates 40th Anniversary of the First Report on Smoking and Health with American Lung Association PSA"America's Family Doctor" Encourages Smokers to Celebrate Public Health Milestone by Quitting NEW YORK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- 12/29/2003 -- Today, former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, often called "America's Family Doctor," joins the American Lung Association in unveiling a public service announcement (PSA) campaign commemorating the 40th anniversary of the first Surgeon General's Report on Smoking and Health. Released on January 11, 1964, the report represented a seminal moment in public health, as it was America's first widely publicized official recognition of smoking as a cause of cancer and other deadly diseases.

The PSA, entitled "Remember 1964," began airing on television stations nationwide in December. In the PSA, Dr. Koop reminds smokers of the Report's impact and issues a powerful call to action, urging smokers to celebrate the anniversary event by quitting.

"Although there have been great strides made in smoking cessation, there's still more work to be done," said Dr. Koop. "Approximately 46 million American adults still smoke, and the introduction of so-called 'reduced risk' tobacco products may pose a serious threat to public health if they have the effect of delaying or changing a smoker's decision to quit, increasing the exposure to risk of contracting a smoking-related disease. Fortunately, the past 40 years have brought new help and new hope for those who want to quit smoking. There are now FDA-approved tools available to help, including nicotine replacement therapies like the patch, gum and lozenge, as well as counseling, support programs and quitlines, all of which can increase a smoker's chances of becoming smoke-free."

"We are honored to be working with Dr. Koop, whom we have long admired and considered a pillar in the public health community. We are committed to helping people stop smoking and preventing young people from starting. This is the only way that tobacco-related lung disease will be eliminated for future generations," said John L. Kirkwood, president and CEO, American Lung Association. "We've made big strides over the last 40 years, but we still have work to do. We are proud to count this PSA among our many efforts to reduce the death and disease caused by smoking."

[I deleted a paragraph here with links to the Lung Association website and phone number.]

For more information about the Surgeon General's Report on Smoking and Health or FDA-approved stop smoking products, please visit xxxxxx.

It seems to me now that the anniversary of the Surgeon General's report is what is being hijacked this time. (see message 32 in this string for reference to that comment.) Basically this news release is a commercial for quit smoking aids. You know what that first report did 40 years ago. It made the public aware that smoking caused lung cancer. It made the public aware that smoking was deadly. It made the public aware that they should quit smoking to save their lives. This commemorative press release briefly mentions this and spends the bulk of the message telling people that there are now products you can buy with nicotine to help you break free from cigarettes or even the "so-called 'reduced risk' tobacco products" that they refer to.

If anyone wants to find the original article or the links involved it will be easy. Just type Koop into any search engine that has listing for recent new reports. I am not however going to put the links up here. What I am going to do though is highlight some of the appalling comments you will find at that site linked at the end of the article where I have put the "xxxxxxxxx."

Comment one:
Sure, quitting was hard. But as you know by now, staying off cigarettes forever is every bit as difficult. The good news? It is possible!

First, you need to be aware that physical cravings will continue to pop up from time to time. That's why it pays to keep a stop-smoking Quit Aid like Nicorette®, NicoDerm® CQ® , or Committtm on hand long after you quit.

You'll also need to continue to fight off the temptation of being in certain situations without a cigarette. Don't smoke - not even a puff! Who knows how far that will set you back.
Comment two:
4. Get a stop-smoking Quit Aid

  • It's an undeniable fact - stop-smoking Quit_Aid products can help you stop smoking and lessen the urge.
These are some of the Quit Aids the FDA has approved:
  • Nicorette®- available over-the-counter
  • NicoDerm® CQ®- available over-the-counter
  • Committ TM available over-the-counter
  • Zyban® - available only by prescription

    Other, non-proven therapies include herbal remedies, acupuncture and hypnosis.

Comment 3:
5. Be prepared to relapse

Most relapses occur within the first 3 months. But don't be discouraged. Remember, most people try 7 times before they finally quit.

Comment 4:
The dreaded relapse

Any ex-smoker knows, quitting is so difficult that many have tried 7 or more times before succeeding. So if you relapse, you're not alone.

But you don't have to feel like a failure. In fact, you can learn from your current quit attempt and more likely stay a non-smoker in the future. And, by keeping a Quit Aids like Nicorette®, NicoDerm® CQ®, or CommitTM handy, you can help fight off the physical cravings

The source for the widely distributed press release is GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare

GlaxoSmithKline makes Nicorette®, NicoDerm® CQ®, and the CommitTM lozenge.

I normally try not to go on an offensive with any industry, as we have written in our Freedom's mission statement:
We are hostile to nobody. Not even to the tobacco industry or pharmaceutical companies who have different agendas than ours. They exist because they want you to use their products. We exist because you want to stop using their products. We are not here to try to make anyone stop using their products either. We are here to help people quit using nicotine because they have already decided to do so.
I feel that I am would be being negligent now though if I did not point out a tactic that I have not seen so blatantly used before by the pharmaceutical industry. The idea that you should keep any source of nicotine on hand just in case is absolutely ludicrous. It gives the impression that people have to have some nicotine around in case they have an urge. The fact is ex-smokers don't have physical urges they have psychological . Taking a dose of nicotine to deal with a psychological trigger will basically start the physical process of withdrawal again. If a person does it he or she had better be prepared for three more days of withdrawal. He or she had better have a good supply of his or her quitting aid on hand again to get through the following days for he or she has started up an active need again.

I think the other way that this comment needs to be looked at is the idea that an ex-smoker has to have something on hand "just in case" the ex-smoker finds himself or herself wanting a cigarette. What might happen if a person gets a thought and has no aid? Will he or she stop breathing? Will his or her heart stop? Will he or she burst a blood vessel unless he or she takes nicotine product? None of these things will happen. For the record, most ex-smokers are going to get an occasional thought and if they have a nicotine product in hand and have a feeling that it is better than smoking, or that it is an either they are either going to take this NRT product or they are going to smoke, they are going to take the product. The bottom line is there was and always will be a third option, which is not to take the product and not smoke. The person will get through the event with their quit totally intact.

We are seeing a new level of nonsense now. Every one of our members are living proof that all you need to have with you to keep your quit strong and secure in times of major crisis, minor emergencies, or just plain random thoughts is a personal commitment to never take another puff!


I am attaching the first letter I ever wrote on a nicotine replacement product, written almost 20 years ago now. Its message is as pertinent now as it was back then:

Joel's Reinforcement Library


Pharmacological Crutches

Due to the recent release of Nicorette®, a chewing gum containing nicotine, I feel it is necessary to issue a special warning to all clinic participants who may be considering experimenting with this product. The gum is intended to be used by smokers to ease the severity of symptoms encountered during initial smoking cessation.

But the ex-smoker occasionally desires a cigarette months and even years after quitting. He may feel that the urge is due to a physiological residual effect of withdrawal. This thought may lead to the idea that trying the gum may help get rid of the desire. But, the actual cause of the thought for a cigarette is due to a psychologically triggered response. Some situation, person or event is causing the thought for a cigarette. While these occasional triggers may be annoying, they pass in seconds and may not occur again for hours, days or even weeks.

If the ex-smoker tries the gum, the end result will be tragic. For once he takes the first piece, his addiction to nicotine will be established. Once again he will be in nicotine withdrawal. Then he will have to make a choice--either relapsing into full fledged smoking or once again encountering the two week nicotine withdrawal. All this because he wanted to ease a thought for a cigarette which would have only lasted seconds.

Even the intended use of nicotine gum presents certain problems. Many hope the gum will be a panacea for the truly addicted smoker. But caution must be given to the non discriminate use by any smoker who feels that this new aide will help him break free from cigarettes. For while the gum may reduce the severity of initial withdrawal, it does so at a cost.

Normally, when a smoker quits, physical discomfort will peak within 72 hours and totally subside within two weeks. While the first three days may be traumatic, with proper support any smoker can successfully get through this period.

Use of the gum may reduce the initial severity of withdrawal when quitting. The ex-smoker may continue chewing the gum for months, never reaching peak withdrawal. But because blood nicotine never reaches the levels maintained by cigarettes, nor totally leaves the body, he feels minor withdrawal symptoms on a chronic basis. When he finally quits using the gum, he will probably experience the same withdrawal he would have originally encountered when quitting cigarettes.

The gum may help an addicted smoker break some of the psychological dependence and conditioned responses before experiencing potential difficult withdrawal. But the cost for this easing of initial symptoms is a prolonged chronic withdrawal followed by peak symptoms when giving up the gum. This is a lot of long term discomfort which could be avoided by simply ridding the body of all nicotine by quitting cold turkey.

When you quit smoking, you broke free from the addiction to nicotine. As long as you keep all nicotine out of your body you will never again have to worry about the health consequences of smoking or deal with the withdrawal of quitting. If you wish to stay free, don't try the gum, and as for cigarettes, cigars or pipes - NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!

NOTE: I originally wrote this in 1984. Since then, a number or similar products, (e.g., patches, gums, other devices are currently under development), have been introduced as over the counter cessation aids. The same principal applies to them all - they are transferring the delivery system of the drug nicotine. If the smoker simply stops, withdrawal will peak and start to subside within 72 hours. Use of the agents will unnecessarily prolong the cessation process as well as add to the expense.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

16 Jan 2004, 00:46 #26

I just saw an email from a gold member who was alerting us to an article in the current issue of Time Magazine. I am going to attach the article here and add a few comments at the end of the article:

Y O U R T I M E / H E A L T H

Stub Out That Butt!
But don't try to go it alone. Here are some tricks that make it easier to quit
Monday, Jan. 19, 2004 More than 42% of adult Americans smoked when the first Surgeon General's Report on Smoking and Health was published. Today, 40 years later, fewer than 23% do. That's good news, but it could be better - a lot better. The drop-off in smoking stalled in 1990 and has hardly budged since then. Surveys show that 70% of tobacco users want to quit, but kicking the nicotine habit isn't easy.

What a lot of smokers don't realize is that the most popular method of quitting - just stopping, a.k.a. going cold turkey - is the least effective. Studies show that getting intensive short-term counseling, taking drugs like Zyban (an antidepressant) or using one of the many nicotine aids (gum, patch, inhaler, nasal spray, lozenge) all double the chance of success. Preliminary results suggest that combining these methods will increase success rates even more.

The trick is to find out what works best for you. For counseling, you don't have to go into full-fledged psychoanalysis; you can pick up practical strategies from various quit-smoking telephone hotlines (for a list of numbers as well as tips, visit As for nicotine products, make sure you're using them the right way. You need to chew the gum slowly, for example, not swallowing the saliva until the nicotine can be absorbed through the cheek, says Dr. Elliot Wineburg, who has used everything from drugs to hypnosis at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City to help hard-core smokers quit. Many people try to make do with as little nicotine as possible, which is a mistake. "You don't want the brain to go into withdrawal," Wineburg says.

It's never too late to quit. As the years go by, an ex-smoker's risk of heart disease and stroke diminishes until it's essentially the same as that of a person who has never smoked, says Dr. Corinne Husten of the Centers for Disease Control's Office on Smoking and Health. Alas, the risk of lung cancer never quite gets down to what it would have been without smoking. "Even with cancer, people respond better to chemotherapy if they quit," Husten says. Best of all, of course, would be not to take up the habit in the first place.

From the Jan. 19, 2004 issue of TIME magazine

No one should ever be surprised when they see reports in the popular media about how quitting smoking by cold turkey is so ineffective. Strings that we have covering this issue are "What ever you do don't quit cold turkey!", Who Should You Believe?, So how did most successful ex-smokers actually quit? and Is cold turkey the only way to quit? Also make sure to read post the 36th post in this string.

The one new thing I want to comment on this particular article is how it points out that smoking declined from 42% to 23% in the past 40 years, but how the drop-off stalled in 1990. The dates are interesting. The article is saying is that there are a whole lot more effective ways to quit than by going cold turkey. It is basically talking about NRT products and Zyban. What is interesting is that almost all of these products came into existence in the 1990's--the years where the rapid decline in smoking cessation actually stopped. Nicotine gum was first approved for use in America in 1984, by prescription only. In 1991 and 1992, four patches were approved for prescription use. In 1996 all controls broke loose--the gum and two of the four patches went over the counter and Zyban was just coming into the fray. So now we have all of these miracle products available, many without prescription. If these products were so good at increasing success, and if they are being used by so many people you would think that smoking rates would be plummeting now when compared to when people just had to rely on their own resolve to quit. Again, read the following line from the article above: "The drop-off in smoking stalled in 1990 and has hardly budged since then." Lets hope not too many miracle products for smoking cessation get introduced in the future. They may result smoking rates skyrocketing again.

Last edited by Joel on 12 Apr 2009, 07:23, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 01:47

16 Jan 2004, 00:55 #27

Joel, you nailed it! It's always frustrating to read vague reports of "studies" and "preliminary results" with no supporting data. It's REALLY frustrating when these vague reports refer to life and death issues such as nicotine addiction! Thank goodness there's the reality check offered here at Freedom and


78 days ago, I quit smoking to save my life. BTW, I've also saved $355.10 by not smoking 1,578 cigarettes.

John (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

16 Jan 2004, 01:11 #28

Sorry about my above deletion but had to clean up all those crazy codes ....
I couldn't help myself, Joel, I just had to respond.
Below is my "Letter to the Times Editor"
It's Guy & Robert's fault for for egging me on ; )
[]Letters to the Editor of TIME Magazine[/url]

To: [][/url]
Dear Times Editor,

The "Stub Out that Butt" story correctly notes that national cessation rates stalled in 1990 but erroneously lays blame upon cold turkey quitting, which is labeled "least effective." The assertion that nicotine replacement therapy products (NRT) like the nicotine patch or gum doubles the chance of success is, simply, hogwash!

The American Cancer Society's 2003 Cancer Facts and Figures report indicates that 91.2% of all successful long-term quitters quit entirely on their own. A March 2003 study by NRT industry consultants combined all over-the-counter NRT research and found that 93% of NRT users had relapsed to smoking within six months.

If cold turkey's six-month historical rate of 10% still holds true, then it is actually more effective than NRT.

John R. Polito
Nicotine Cessation Instructor



1. American Cancer Society, Cancer Facts and Figures 2003 (PDF Document) , see Table ... ecured.pdf

2. Hughes, JR, Shiffman, S, et al., A meta-analysis of the efficacy of over-the-counter nicotine replacement ,, Tobacco Control, March 2003;12:21-27.

3. Polito, JR. , Does the Over-the-counter Nicotine Patch Really Double Your Chances of Quitting?, WhyQuit, April 2002.

4. Polito, JR, Is cold turkey quitting more productive and effective than NRT?, WhyQuit, July 2003.


Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:02

16 Jan 2004, 02:12 #29




Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

16 Jan 2004, 02:47 #30

I am lifting the following post out of the string I Liked My Other Support Group More:
From: Joel Sent: 6/9/2003 7:14 AM
I am attaching a link here to a quick post put up by Pelenope today: In it Pennie talks about her experience with a real world support group she was in. John responded in that thread about a study that was being done in Malta evaluating the effectiveness of their smoking cessation programs. Here is the link John put up to that study:

There are many that would be shocked by the conclusions drawn from the study. For what the study showed was that the six month cessation rate for the groups being examined was just about 10%. Of those who quit, eight of the ten went cold turkey. I don't know what the usage status was of the two using NRT, meaning, were they still using NRT at the six month mark or not? Giving them the benefit of the doubt that they had gotten off the NRT, it would still mean that 80% of the success stories were cold turkey quitters.

So what was the conclusions of the study investigators on how to improve their programs?

Well they thought that one of the problems with the approach being used was that participants were given a choice of going cold turkey or of using pharmacotherapies such as NRT. They concluded that the way to improve the program was to make NRT the cornerstone of future programs.

The original subject of this letter, Barbara was in a clinic I ran back in 1977. Again, she was in a group of people most of whom had successfully quit smoking. She did not. She was in another group at one time where she also had not quit smoking--but then again, neither did any of the people in her group. So where would she turn if she ever somehow decided that maybe she should quit again? I suspect she would have gone back to her other program.

Its amazing what kind of conclusions people can draw from different situations. Everyone here should know that there are other schools of thoughts and options out there for how to attempt to quit smoking. But always try to use the simplest level of logic when analyzing the problem at hand here. The problem is everyone here is addicted to a drug--nicotine. The way most people here got addicted to nicotine is by inhaling burning tobacco, usually via cigarettes. Inhaling burning tobacco is dangerous and basically downright deadly. The only way to eradicate the risks of inhaling burning tobacco is to not inhale burning tobacco. Once a person becomes nicotine free the physical need to inhale burning tobacco or to take in nicotine via any route of administration to stave off nicotine withdrawal will be permanently over. Your body will never need nicotine again as long as you never take nicotine from any NRT source and as long as you always remember when it comes to burning tobacco products that to stay smoke free you must never take another puff.

The closing paragraph there further illustrates just what kind of conclusions are drawn by the experts and reported to the general public.
Last edited by Joel on 12 Apr 2009, 07:25, edited 1 time in total.