Quit Cold Turkey

Quit Cold Turkey

Joel
Joel

October 15th, 2000, 7:20 pm #1

Joel's Reinforcement Library


Quit Cold Turkey!


To many, cold turkey conjures up visions of torturous pain, suffering and general drudgery. In fact, it is easier to stop smoking using the cold turkey method than by using any other technique. Cold turkey induces less suffering and creates a shorter period of withdrawal. Most important, cold turkey is the approach by which the smoker has the best chance of success.

Smokers must recognize that they are drug addicts. Nicotine is a powerfully addictive drug. Once the smoker has smoked for a fairly long time, the body requires maintenance of a certain level of nicotine in the bloodstream. If this level is not maintained, the smoker will experience varying degrees of drug withdrawal. The lower the level, the greater the intensity. As long as any nicotine remains in the bloodstream the body will keep craving its full complement. Once the smoker quits, the nicotine level will eventually drop to zero and all physical withdrawal will cease. Cravings for an occasional cigarette may continue, but this is due to an old habit not to a physical dependence.

Cutting down on cigarettes or use of nicotine replacement strategies throws the smoker into a chronic state of drug withdrawal. As soon as the smoker fails to reach the minimum requirement of nicotine, the body starts demanding it. As long as there is any nicotine in the bloodstream, the body will demand its old requirement. Smoking just one or two a day or wearing a patch which is gradually reducing the amount of nicotine being delivered will result in the smoker not achieving the minimum required level, creating a chronic state of peak drug withdrawal.

This state will continue throughout the rest of the smoker's life unless one of two steps is taken to rectify it. First, the smoker can stop delivering nicotine altogether. Nicotine will be metabolized or totally excreted from the body and the withdrawal will stop forever. Or, the smoker can return to the old level of consumptions accomplishing nothing.

Therefore, cold turkey is the method of choice. Once the smoker stops, withdrawal will end within two weeks. If you smoke, we can help you over this crucial period of time. Once it is past, you can rest assured that you will never need to smoke again. Then, to stay off you will simply need to remember to Never Take Another Puff!


Last edited by Joel on December 26th, 2012, 9:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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OBob Gold
OBob Gold

January 3rd, 2003, 6:28 am #2

Cutting down on cigarettes or use of nicotine replacement strategies throws the smoker into a chronic state of drug withdrawal. As soon as the smoker fails to reach the minimum requirement of nicotine, the body starts demanding it. As long as there is any nicotine in the bloodstream, the body will demand its old requirement. Smoking just one or two a day or wearing a patch which is gradually reducing the amount of nicotine being delivered will result in the smoker not achieving the minimum required level, creating a chronic state of peak drug withdrawal.

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OBob Gold
OBob Gold

January 14th, 2003, 9:11 am #3

"Therefore, cold turkey is the method of choice. Once the smoker stops, withdrawal will end within two weeks. If you smoke, we can help you over this crucial period of time. Once it is past, you can rest assured that you will never need to smoke again. Then, to stay off you will simply need to remember to Never Take Another Puff!"
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Joel
Joel

February 6th, 2003, 8:53 pm #4

I am combining two posts here, I think they compliment each other very well:



From: Joel.                Sent: 12/13/2002 6:56 AM I read a comment somewhere in a post yesterday that cold turkey quitting was the ONLY way to quit. This is not a totally accurate statement. It is not that cold turkey is the only way to quit; it is just that cold turkey is actually the easiest way to quit. It is also the method that the vast majority of long-term ex-smokers in the world have used to quit smoking.

There are people who have quit using alternative approaches. There are some people who cut down gradually and actually pulled off a final quit. For every person who did it like this and succeeded, there are many many many many multiples of others who tried it and failed. The individual who used the method will think it is great because it worked for him or her, but since it works for so few people it will generally be recognized as a pretty ineffective technique by most people who do real world research into how to quit.

By real world research I mean by going to long-term ex-nicotine users who you know personally and finding out how they all got off nicotine. Again, you will very rarely find any who did it by gradual withdrawal. If you find a person like this who is now off years, you should never minimize the person's success. He or she quit smoking, likely doing it in a way that made it much more difficult than it needed to be, but still he or she did pull off the quit. The only advice that I would encourage that you share with the person is that now to stay off he or she must understand the bottom line method of sustaining his or her quit. That message is staying cognizant of the addiction and that the only true guaranteed method to stay off now is knowing never to administer nicotine again.

The same principle here applies to people who use NRT products. There are people who have quit this way. Again, it is a small percentage of the long-term ex-users out there, but they do exist. An individual who pulled it off this way will also feel that it is a great method for quitting. But again, this method works for a small percentage of people who try it and if you look into real world long-term quits you will have a very hard time finding many people who actually got off nicotine this way.

I feel it necessary to use that phrase, "got off nicotine," as opposed to saying, "got off smoking." There are some major experts coming out and advocating that people should be given nicotine supplements forever to stay off of smoking. Can this work? Of course it can. If you can give people enough nicotine via supplements it will satisfy their need for nicotine. After all, this is the primary reason they were smoking at the end--to feed a nicotine addiction. If the smoker can just get nicotine for the rest of his or her life via another route, he or she will avoid going through the three days of nicotine withdrawal.

The question needs to be though, why should anyone have to pay what is likely to be tens of thousands of dollars to avoid a few days of withdrawal. On top of this, these people will never be totally free of the moderate withdrawals that such usage is likely to keep going. These people will in fact tout the use of the product as a great aid, but when compared to what people who are totally nicotine free are experiencing, this victory over cigarettes is just a bit hollow.

There are a few people though whom you may encounter over your lifetime that did quit using NRT's as intended, weaning down for week after week and eventually quitting. If the person is now off for years, he or she is pretty much in the same state as a person who had quit cold turkey. He or she is nicotine free, and he or she should be thrilled by that fact. In some ways I look at people like this with a bit of awe, for they in all likelihood stuck with a process that was pretty much a gradual and prolonged withdrawal and yet they succeeded.

Again, debating the merits of their method with them is pretty much a moot point. It worked for them and you are going to have a pretty hard time convincing them that it is an ineffective method. But you do have a message that you can share with them that they do need to know. That message is that even though they are off nicotine for years, they still need to recognize that they are not cured of nicotine addiction and never will be. No matter how they had stopped, they must still understand the bottom line message, that the only way to stay free now is staying totally committed to never administer nicotine again via any nicotine replacement source and to never administer nicotine again from the original source that likely started the whole process by knowing to never take another puff!

Joel


and ...
While I was looking for the body repair statistics that a members asked for I came across a very interesting statistic I had not seen before. You would be amazed if you look around the Internet or even requested information for professional health organizations to research how to quit smoking that the standard advice that will be given is to use a pharmacological approach, i.e., nicotine replacement products and or Zyban. Every time you see this advice you will constantly hear that these approaches double your chances of quitting. Some sites and groups come out and almost say point blank do not go cold turkey--basically leaving the reader with the impression that nobody could possibly quit this way.



Well today I came across a chart in the 2003 American Cancer Society's Facts and figures. It shows the percentage of current smokers who have tried different routes at quitting smoking. It said that 15.1% have tried drug therapies or counseling, 82% tried going cold-turkey or cutting down, and 2.5% did other, not specifying what other meant. Basically, this doesn't mean much for current smokers don't really show us much about how to successfully quit smoking.



The numbers that were very telling were the percentages of former smokers--how they had quit. Keep in mind this chart is limited, it does not tell us how long they have quit or some other key pieces of information--like did the people who are using quitting aids such as NRT ever actually get off the NRT. But I am not concerned about that at this moment. What I am impressed by is how the standard advice given to quit by most health professional health organizations is basically not to quit cold turkey.



So how did former smokers actually quit according to the American Cancer Society report. Those using drug therapies and counseling, 6.8%. Those using other methods, 2.1%. That leaves those who either went cold-turkey or cut down. It seems that the study authors didn't feel a need to separate these two unimportant methods, but since even they generally admit cutting down techniques do not really work, I think we can safely assume that they didn't really have any major impact on the overall number. So basically 91.4% of the people who are successfully classified as former smokers quit cold turkey. You have to ask yourself how many of these people would have quit if the sought out and listened to professional advice.



So for anyone looking in trying to determine what is the best way to quit, you have a choice. You can go with the experts or you can go with what over 90% of successful quitters have done. If you decide to go with the quitters all you need to do is to never take another puff!



Joel
Last edited by Joel on February 7th, 2012, 2:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Joel
Joel

November 17th, 2003, 11:12 pm #5

I was just watching a commercial endorsing the use of NRT products to quit smoking. The spokesman was a famous and successful ex-smoker who was trying to get the message out that quitting is possible. The implication of the commercial was that if he could quit smoking others could quit too.

The spokesman was Arnold Palmer. Arnold Palmer quit smoking 30 years ago. He notes in one of his commercials that when he quit things like patches and gums didn't exist. This is true. They weren't available for people until "only" 20 years ago.

What I find amazing is that the pharmaceutical company didn't just find a famous spokesman who quit using their products. After all, if twice as many people successfully quit by these quitting aids, and we have tens of millions of ex-smokers in this country, there should be plenty of sports figures, television stars, movie stars, or people famous for other great feats that should be able to attest to the wonders of these cutting edge "new" products. But it seems that the pharmaceutical industry seems to have fallen back on a long-term quitter, who had the terrible disadvantage of having to quit without their help.

I personally think that Arnold Palmer is a good spokesman for quitting smoking. He has shown that quitting smoking is possible and staying free for decades is possible too. If you want to quit smoking do what Arnold Palmer did. Just for clarity sake, what Arnold Palmer did was to simply quit smoking and then continued to stick to his personal commitment to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joel
Joel

December 3rd, 2003, 11:20 pm #6

Is cold turkey the only way to quit?




I have seen it written that we have said that the ONLY way to quit smoking is to quit cold turkey. This is not a totally accurate statement. It is not that cold turkey is the only way to quit,; it is just that cold turkey is the method which gives people the best chance of success. It is the method that all but a small percentage of long-term ex-smokers in the world used to successfully quit smoking.

There are people who have quit using alternative approaches. There are some who cut down gradually and actually succeeded at quitting. For every person who did it like this and succeeded, there are many many many many others who tried it and failed. The individual who used the method will think it is great because it worked for him or her, but since it works for so few people it will generally be recognized as a pretty ineffective technique by most people who do "real world" research into how to quit.

By "real world" research I mean by going to long-term ex-nicotine users who you know personally and finding out how they all got off nicotine. Again, you will very rarely find any who did it by gradual withdrawal. If you find a person like this who is now off years, you should never minimize the person's success. He or she quit smoking, likely doing it in a way that made it much more difficult than it needed to be, but still he or she did pull off the quit. The only advice that I would encourage that you share with the person is that now to stay off he or she must understand the bottom line method of sustaining his or her quit. That message is staying cognizant of the addiction and that the only true guaranteed method to stay off now is knowing never to administer nicotine again.

The same principle here applies to people who use NRT products. There are people who have quit this way. Again, it is a small percentage of the long-term ex-users out there, but they do exist. An individual who pulled it off this way will also feel that it is a great method for quitting. But again, this method works for a small percentage of people who try it and if you look into real world long-term quits you will have a very hard time finding many people who actually successfully got off nicotine this way.

I feel it necessary to use that phrase, "got off nicotine," as opposed to saying, "got off smoking." There are some major experts coming out and advocating that people should be given nicotine supplements forever to stay off of smoking. Can this work? Of course it can. If you can give people enough nicotine via supplements it will satisfy their need for nicotine. After all, this is the primary reason they were smoking at the end--to feed a nicotine addiction. If the smoker can just get nicotine for the rest of his or her life via another route, he or she will avoid going through the three days of nicotine withdrawal.

The question needs to be, why should anyone have to pay what is likely to be tens of thousands of dollars to avoid a few days of withdrawal.? On top of this, these people will never be totally free of the moderate withdrawals that such usage is likely to keep going. These people will in fact tout the use of the product as a great aid, but when compared to what people who are totally nicotine free are experiencing, this victory over cigarettes is just a bit hollow.

There are a few people though whom you may encounter over your lifetime that did quit using NRT's as intended, weaning down for week after week and eventually quitting. If the person is now off for years, he or she is pretty much in the same state as a person who had quit cold turkey. He or she is nicotine free, and he or she should be thrilled by that fact. In some ways I look at people like this with a bit of awe, for they in all likelihood stuck with a process that was pretty much a gradual and prolonged withdrawal and yet they succeeded.

Again, debating the merits of their method with them is pretty much a moot point. It worked for them and you are going to have a pretty hard time convincing them that it is an ineffective method. But you do have a message that you can share with them that they do need to know. That message is that even though they are off nicotine for years, they still need to recognize that they are not cured of nicotine addiction and never will be. No matter how they had stopped, they must still understand the bottom line message, that the only way to stay free now is staying totally committed to never administer nicotine again via any nicotine replacement source and to never administer nicotine again from the original source that likely started the whole process by knowing to never take another puff!
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Joel
Joel

December 3rd, 2003, 11:22 pm #7

So how did most successful ex-smokers actually quit?


If you look around the Internet or even request information from professional health organizations on how to quit smoking you are likely to find that the standard advice that will be given is to use a pharmacological approach, i.e., nicotine replacement products and or Zyban. Every time you see this advice you will constantly hear that these approaches double your chances of quitting. Some sites and groups come out and almost say point blank do not go cold turkey--basically leaving the reader with the impression that nobody could possibly quit this way.

In the 2003 American Cancer Society's Facts and figures there is a chart that shows the percentage of current smokers who have tried different routes at quitting smoking and also showed what percentage of current ex-smokers who quit by different techniques.

The numbers that were very telling were the percentages that broke down how former smokers had actually quit. Keep in mind this chart is limited, it does not tell us how long they have quit or some other key pieces of information--like did the people who are using quitting aids such as NRT ever actually got off the NRT. But I am not concerned about that at this moment.

So how did former smokers actually quit according to the American Cancer Society report? Those using drug therapies and counseling, 6.8%. Those using other methods, 2.1%. That leaves those who either went cold-turkey or cut down. It seems that the study authors didn't feel a need to separate these two unimportant methods, but since even they generally admit cutting down techniques do not really work, I think we can safely assume that they didn't really have any major impact on the overall number. So basically 91.4% of the people who are successfully classified as former smokers quit cold turkey. On that same page is the following recommendation:
"All patients attempting to quit should be encouraged to use effective pharmacotherapies except in the presence of specific contraindications."
You have to ask yourself how many of the successful ex-smokers in the world today would have actually succeeded if the sought out and listened to professional advice.

So for anyone looking in trying to determine what is the best way to quit, you have a choice. You can go with the experts or you can go with what over 90% of successful quitters have done. If you decide to go with the quitters all you need to do is to never take another puff!
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DlunyGOLD
DlunyGOLD

May 13th, 2004, 9:21 am #8

If you had told me that a cold turkey quit could be as easy as this one has been (at least for me) before I started, I would never have believed you. I was CONVINCED that NRT was the ONLY way to go due to a string of failed quits over the 4 years prior to starting this quit. I had quit once for over 2 years with the patch several years back so I KNEW that was the way I needed to go this time.

Then a coworker told me about www.whyquit.com and told me that before I started using the NRT she was GIVING me, I should read there first. It had worked for her (she had about 4 days on me).

I read. And read. And read some more. And the message became crystal clear--NRT is an expensive way to prolong withdrawal! In order to quit nicotine you have to QUIT NICOTINE! How simple is THAT concept? Not always easy, but a simple concept. I found I could relate to the addiction issues involved in smoking and also realized that I was using cigarettes to administer MY drug of choice, NICOTINE!

It still took about 24 hours for all of this to sink in and for me to "get it" but I finally did and I was able to just put all of the nicotine aside and start living my life the way I was meant to live it--without nicotine hijacking my dopamine receptors. Getting through the first 3 days was not as bad as I had thought it would be--wasn't a picnic but it wasn't total **** either. I followed the advice given here to keep reading and to drink lots of cranberry juice while cutting back on caffeine. Before I knew it the 3 days were over and I was ready to start tackling the psychological issues and the cravings. This is ongoing but I can tell you at 6 months I don't think about smoking very much, and when I do it is usually in a negative light.

If I EVER choose to "glamorize" smoking again, all I have to do is come back and re-read about Bryan Lee Curtis - age 34 or Kim's Missing Lung and I find I can cure myself of those notions rather quickly! I have put on weight but I am happier today than I have been in a long time because I can sit and write this without having to get up in the middle and go feed my nicotine addiction. I don't smell like an ashtray any more and I can hold my head up high and tell the world I DON'T SMOKE ANY MORE!!!

All it takes is a commitment to never take another puff just for today. Tomorrow is a different day and I don't worry about what will happen or what I will do then. Only today!

I hope you will join us on this journey. It has been rocky at times but what a ride it has been! The rewards are well worth the trip!

David, Six months, five days, 12 hours, 22 minutes and 22 seconds. 3375 cigarettes not smoked, saving $253.09. Life saved: 1 week, 4 days, 17 hours, 15 minutes.
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

June 8th, 2004, 10:15 pm #9

Stories like that of Mr. Amburn, below are heartbreaking. Not only is no one telling him that the only two nicotine patch recycling studies ever conducted reported an almost 100% smoking releapse rate within six months among second-time and subsequent patch users, he likely does not yet know or appreciate the law of addiction.
Man suspended for
smoking, vows to quit
June 8, 2004

PARKER CITY, Ind. (AP) -- A town marshal who was trying to quit smoking got some unexpected tough love from the Town Council -- a one-day suspension for violating a no-smoking ordinance.

"Maybe getting a suspension is the best way to quit. It jogs your memory a lot better and gets you back to reality," Town Marshal Rex Amburn said Monday.

Amburn, 60, has been a smoker for 40 years. He's tried nicotine patches, pills, lozenges and assorted advice from friends around the east-central Indiana town of about 1,400.

He had cut back from three packs a day to about three cigarettes when a council member recently caught him smoking in his office in the town hall.

That was a violation of a town ordinance passed in 2000 that prohibited smoking in public buildings and vehicles.

Amburn lost about $160 in pay. He did not object when the council approved the penalty and wore a nicotine patch to the meeting.

"I am not going to be smoking too much longer," said Amburn. "I have to stop."

"I am tickled if this gets him to quit," said council President Fred Ludington, who quit smoking 10 years ago. "If we hadn't enforced it, he would probably still be smoking in that office."

© Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
© Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved
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Joel
Joel

August 3rd, 2004, 9:15 am #10

I had to laugh to myself when I saw the story below. It came to be as a news release. It talks about a celebrity ex-smoker who is out promoting the use of NRT's. It shares something in common with another such campaign which involved another celebrity spokesman for these products--Arnold Palmer.

What do these two athletes have in common? They are both ex-smokers who did not use the products they are endorsing. See post 30 in this string for the Arnold Palmer story. He pretty much said he didn't use these products because they were not available at the time that he quit. As far as for Harmon Killebrew, he says, "It was hard for me to quit smoking, especially because back then we didn't have help like nicotine patches, gum and the lozenge that smokers have today."

You have to get the feeling that they are having trouble getting a single celebrity who has actually quit smoking by using these products. I am going to copy the comment that I wrote summing up the Arnold Palmer campaign--I think it applies wonderfully here too:

What I find amazing is that the pharmaceutical company didn't just find a famous spokesman who quit by using their products. After all, if twice as many people successfully quit by these quitting aids, and we have tens of millions of ex-smokers in this country, there should be plenty of sports figures, television stars, movie stars, or people famous for other great feats that should be able to attest to the wonders of these cutting edge "new" products. But it seems that the pharmaceutical industry seems to have fallen back on a long-term quitter, who had the terrible disadvantage of having to quit without their help.

I personally think that Arnold Palmer is a good spokesman for quitting smoking. He has shown that quitting smoking is possible and staying free for decades is possible too. If you want to quit smoking do what Arnold Palmer did. Just for clarity sake, what Arnold Palmer did was to simply quit smoking and then continued to stick to his personal commitment to never take another puff!

Joel




Press Release Source: The Indianapolis Indians
Baseball Great Harmon Killebrew and the Indianapolis Indians Team Up to Strike Out Smoking
Monday August 2, 10:00 am ET
Hall of Famer Greets Fans, Quit Smoking Counselors Offer Advice INDIANAPOLIS, Aug. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- More than just baseball will be going on during the Tribe's game with the Durham Bulls tomorrow night: Hall of Famer and former Minnesota Twin and Indianapolis Indian, Harmon Killebrew, will be at Victory Field teaming up with the Indians to encourage Indianapolis smokers to quit. In addition to cheering on his favorite minor league team, greeting fans and throwing out the first pitch, Killebrew will be signing autographs from 5:30 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.; smoking cessation counselors will be available from 5:30 p.m. and throughout the game to offer Indianapolis smokers tips on improving their chances of quitting. Unfortunately, forty-six million people in the U.S. smoke cigarettes and Indiana adults and high school students account for 1,336,400 of them. Each year in Indiana, 10,200 adults die from their own smoking, while 1,690 adults, children and babies die as a result of secondhand smoke. During his time with the Twins, Killebrew realized how important quitting smoking was for his game and for his future. Nicknamed as the "Killer," he was determined to defeat his smoking habit and now, he wants to help others conquer their habit too.

"It takes a lot of dedication to quit smoking and whether you give up for good on your first try or have to give it a couple of tries -- just keep swinging at it and you will succeed," said Killebrew. "It was hard for me to quit smoking, especially because back then we didn't have help like nicotine patches, gum and the lozenge that smokers have today. If smokers are able to understand their own smoking habits and what quitting aids could help them most, then they have taken the first step towards quitting and have better chances of being successful."

As Killebrew experienced firsthand, quitting smoking is difficult -- especially without support. Public health and medical experts advise that the best way to quit successfully is to try an over-the-counter stop-smoking aid, such as nicotine replacement therapies (NRT), or prescription stop-smoking therapies. These aids, including gum, patches and the lozenge, have made it easier for smokers to safely wean themselves off of nicotine without being exposed to the harmful toxins in cigarette smoke. NRT is widely available at local grocery stores and pharmacies and has been used by millions of Americans.

As part of their ongoing effort to educate the public about the effects of smoking and available treatment options, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare is sponsoring the Indians' effort to offer smokers and the public quitting advice. Cessation experts will be offering counseling to all Indianapolis Indians fans that are thinking about quitting. Counselors also will provide useful information to anyone who wants support in helping a loved one quit. Killebrew will be signing autographs for fans, as well as those people getting information about stopping smoking.

"My fans gave me a reason to stop smoking and now it is my turn to give back to them. I hope I can make them realize how important it is for them to live their lives to the fullest and to stop smoking."

P.S. I edited out the last line of the press release which was just directing people to the manufacturer of the NRT products website.

One more side note. In case any one thinks that they are not using celebrities who used their products because they are trying to get only long-term quitters and the products just haven't been around that long, keep in mind that many of these products were released in the American marketplace back in 1984. They should have no problems finding lots of long-term quitters if these products actually doubled the chances of quitting success.
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Joel
Joel

August 14th, 2005, 10:57 pm #11

We are often accused of saying that going cold turkey is "the only way to quit." Actually we have never made that claim. This article is the original "cold turkey" article that I wrote decades ago. Actually, I added in the line "or use of nicotine replacement strategies" years after writing the original piece.
The concept that I have always used though in referencing the advantage of cold turkey quitting is is that cold turkey is the method of choice, for as it says here, it results in the end of physical withdrawal effects in a relatively short period of time.
For anyone who ever reads comments that WhyQuit.com says that "cold turkey" is the only way to quit, just know that the person writing the comment has not really read much at WhyQuit.com.
Also see the string Is cold turkey the only way to quit?
Last edited by Joel on December 30th, 2009, 10:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joel
Joel

November 26th, 2005, 10:00 pm #12

Being that we are two days past Thanksgiving here in America, a lot of people are probably getting a little tired of "cold turkey." While some people may find it becomes a little mundane for another meal, it is still a great recipe for successful quitting. So today, whether you are quitting cold turkey (the food) or cold turkey the technique, just your smoking quit will be staying strong and secure as long as you stick with your personal commitment to never take another puff.

Joel
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Joel
Joel

August 1st, 2006, 8:26 pm #13

A number of months back I had a person pose the following question at the AskJoel board:

"Hi, I have been told before that "cold turkey" stop smoking can actually bring out medical problems in your body because it shocks it and that the weaning method was actually safer. Have you seen any research to back this up? It terrifies me that this could be true but not stopping is just as scarey....

Thank you.

Here was the response I gave this person:

As far as I know there has never been any credible research done that had proved that quitting cold turkey was too dangerous. I actually haven't even had the question posed to me for many years.

There was a time when I used to get the question quite frequently. In my early years of doing programs I would hear it from people who told me that they had personal physicians who would tell them that quitting was just too much of a shock to their system and not worth the risk. It was often advice given to pregnant women by their obstetricians.

What must be understood about this information is was what the level of total misunderstanding there was by the physicians at the time, as well as by the entire medical and scientific community. It was at a time that there was a good chance that if a woman were to ask her physician if smoking was harmful to her baby, that the physician could have reached into his shirt pocket, pulled out a cigarette, took a few puffs while in deep contemplation and came back with the answer that smoking didn't really pose any real risk. The same kind of conversation could have been held between a man and his cardiologist or any person with almost any medical condition talking to his or her doctor. Back in the 1950's over half of the doctors in our country smoked.

What we know now about the dangers of smoking as it relates to many conditions makes it totally obvious to almost any health care professional in any field that smoking is deadly, even though in the past the lack of solid information caused the wrong advice to be standard fare.

We now have decades of experience with millions and millions of people successfully quitting smoking, the vast majority of them doing so by going cold turkey. It should be obvious to almost any one now that the dangers of quitting smoking is not what smokers need to be concerned with, it is the dangers they face if they do not quit smoking.

On a personal note, I have personally run over 4,500 people through cold turkey smoking programs for almost 30 years now. Out of those 4,500 people I only had two people who died during the two week period of the clinic. One was a younger man, probably in his thirties with severe heart disease and diabetes who was forced into the program by his wife and doctor because it was clear to both of them that he was in real danger of dying if he didn't quit smoking. Unfortunately, while the man's wife and doctor were both convinced that he was in immediate danger, the man himself didn't accept the risk for in fact, he did not quit smoking during that clinic. He was cheating throughout the program and his wife was not ever sure he had reduced his smoking at all from the first day of the program. He died on the fifth or sixth day.

The other death was from a man who was also in really bad shape, having just had major cardiac surgery, was still having ongoing problems with chronic heart failure and had a terrible prognosis coming in. His doctor had told him that he was a walking time bomb and he meant it in very literal terms. He died about ten days into the program. He had quit and had eased up in the withdrawal, was in fact very proud of the fact that he had quit and was happy with his decision to do so. I actually went to his funeral. His wife was very happy to see me there, and excitedly introduced me to a number of their family members and friends, explaining how I was the person who helped her husband to quit smoking. They were all very proud of the man and felt that he really was trying to give himself a fighting chance to live. That seemed very important to his loved ones at that time.

Other than these two cases, I have never encountered a person who had died during the quitting process, which is quite remarkable considering the state of health that many people who come to clinics are in.

Again, don't waste your energy on the fear of quitting. It is a baseless fear. If you spend time doing any real research on the effects of not quitting though, the fear that you will feel will be totally warranted for the magnitude of risk posed by smoking is tremendous. The good news is that all of the risks posed by smoking can be minimized by simply making and sticking to a personal commitment to never take another puff.

Joel
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Joined: January 16th, 2003, 8:00 am

November 15th, 2006, 9:54 pm #14

No nicotine today just one day at a time becomes a comfortable freedom that is worth every moment of the temporary adjustment period. Truly.

Sal
Three years, ten months, three days, 6 hours, 53 minutes and 47 seconds. 33678 cigarettes not smoked, saving $6,735.78. Life saved: 16 weeks, 4 days, 22 hours, 30 minutes.
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FreedomNicotine
FreedomNicotine

December 30th, 2009, 10:54 pm #15




No nicotine today, one day at a time.
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Joined: November 11th, 2008, 7:22 pm

February 7th, 2012, 2:54 am #16

Cold Turkey More Effective Than Smoking Aids Written by  Javier Armstrong  - The Guardian | University of California, San Diego

UCSD School of Medicine researchers studying tobacco addiction found that the range of pharmaceutical and anti-smoking aids available in the last decade has not increased the number of successful quitters. Their results will be published in the Annual Review of Public Health.

The study, led by professor of family and preventive medicine John P. Pierce, reviewed studies of tobacco addiction conducted within the last 20 years.

Researchers analyzed the effectiveness of pharmaceutical drugs, as well as nicotine gum and the patch, but found none of these aids have been significantly successful.

“We looked at smokers that had quit before 35, before 50 and before 65,” Pierce said. “If you quit before 35, we think you can avoid as high as 90 percent of the consequences of smoking. If you quit before 50, you can avoid at least half of them, and if you quit before 65 you can avoid at least a quarter.”

According to the paper, increasing numbers of smokers successfully quit at different ages during the 20-year period analyzed. The number of people who quit before 35 was higher every year, but the numbers leveled off in the late 1990s, suggesting the number of successful quitters had plateaued.

The researchers noticed this trend within all three age groups, indicating that fewer people were successfully quitting.
“It isn’t that the drugs don’t work,” Pierce said. “It’s that people think they don’t have to try that hard anymore.”
Pierce said that there is evidence that pharmaceutical drugs such as the patch are successful in clinical trials, but the results are not showing up in the general population. He said that the data does not show there have been more quitters even though researchers are seeing more and more people using these products.

“Marketing says put on a patch and you’ll quit, but it’s a nicotine addiction — you can’t cure a nicotine addiction with nicotine,” Pierce said. “What you can do is dull the withdrawal symptoms while you do something else about it.
Pierce said his research showed that the most successful group of quitters are those who quit without any assistance.
“You must incorporate behavior change,” Pierce said. “You must build up the motivation — this is one of the hardest things you will ever do and then really go for it. Unless you’re doing that, the nicotine patch is probably not going to help you.” Pierce said that an increase in people who attempt to quit has not translated to higher success stories. The increased availability of quitting aids has not shown to be effective, according to Pierce.

“The policy at the moment says get a drug,” Pierce said. “Yet the results we found show that 60 percent of successful quitters do it on their own.” Pierce said the current policy is not beneficial because it discourages people from quitting on their own. “There will be a lot of discussion on this topic, at the next World Conference on Tobacco or Health,” Pierce said.



Last modified on Sunday February 05, 2012 - 3:59PM
Source Link:  The Guardian | University of California, San Diego
The Guardian UCSD  © Copyright 2012, All Rights Reserved



UC San Diego Researchers Review Cessation Studies and Call for Change in Policy John Pierce, PhD


Smoking is a major public health issue and quitting is the single most important thing smokers can do to improve their health.  In the 2012 edition of the prestigious Annual Review of Public Health, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have reviewed the landscape of smoking cessation over the past 20 years.  During this time period, there have been improvements in pharmaceutical medications to aid cessation, and free telephone cessation coaching has become available in every state.  However, recent trends in smoking cessation are troubling to tobacco control researchers.

“For the past decade, attempts to quit smoking have increased, but the proportion of people who become successful quitters has gone down” said John P. Pierce, PhD, professor of Family and Preventive Medicine and director of Population Sciences at UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center.  “Widespread dissemination of cessation services has not led to an increase in the probability that a quit attempt will be successful."

The problem does not appear to be with the cessation services themselves. “Randomized trials continue to demonstrate that innovations in cessation assistance, such as the new text-to-quit service, increase success rates among smokers motivated to be part of clinical studies,” said Sharon Cummins, PhD, director of Evaluation with the California Smokers Helpline and a co-author on the study.  “Indeed, one study showed that heavier smokers are much more likely to quit successfully when a doctor actively monitors the quit attempt, pharmaceutical aids are used, and the smoker receives multiple coaching calls from a quitline service”.

However, recent evidence suggests that part of the problem may lie in how cessation aids are marketed by pharmaceutical companies:  many such ads suggest that quitting smoking may be as simple as putting on a patch.  It appears that younger smokers in particular are now more likely to underestimate the amount of work needed in order to quit smoking successfully. 

Traditionally, the majority of smokers who quit successfully have done so without assistance, and recent data suggests that this has not changed.  However, current national policy discourages unassisted quitting, advising clinicians to make sure smokers who want to quit do so with pharmaceutical assistance.  This policy may undermine smokers’ belief in their ability to quit on their own. 

The number of people who quit smoking successfully has stalled in the United States at every age. (graph)


Pierce and colleagues noted that some of the earliest texts in psychology – written more than 100 years ago – include chapters on breaking habits such as smoking.  In 1890, William James laid out a series of maxims that were widely recognized then and that still hold true today:  smokers need to make a strong resolution to change; they need to act quickly on that resolution; they will be more successful if they make a personal commitment to another to be successful; and finally, it is important to understand the danger of having even a single cigarette during a quit attempt.

The researchers suggest that policy makers join those in academia for a serious review of tobacco cessation policy.

In addition to Pierce, the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center research team included Sharon E. Cummins, PhD, Martha M. White, Aimee Humphrey and Karen Messer, PhD.

Funding support for this study was provided by the Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program (TRDRP).


Media Contact Kim Edwards, kedwards@ucsd.edu, 619-543-6163

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Joined: November 13th, 2008, 2:04 pm

March 1st, 2012, 6:44 pm #17

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Joined: November 11th, 2008, 7:22 pm

March 24th, 2012, 12:44 pm #18

Letter to the Editor
Quitting smoking? Go cold turkey

John R. Polito, Goose Creek, S.C.

Saturday, March 24, 2012 | 2:01 a.m.

Cy Ryan’s March 19 online article, “TV ad campaign aimed at curbing tobacco use,” reviews the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new hard-hitting quit-smoking campaign, which uses tragic tobacco-victim stories to motivate cessation. It’d be great if the campaign could reduce Nevada’s 3,300 annual smoking-related deaths or its 21 percent smoking rate, but it’s unlikely.

It isn’t that fear can’t motivate. It’s the failure of CDC to immediately channel that fear into a meaningful cessation opportunity. The new campaign pipelines motivated smokers to either SmokeFree.gov or 800-QUIT-NOW, where the primary objective is to get smokers to obtain and use the nicotine patch, gum, lozenge, spray, inhaler, Zyban or Chantix.

While approved quitting products clobber placebo controls in random clinical trials, they get clobbered by cold-turkey quitters in real-world population level studies. Current U.S. cessation policy has been heavily influenced by the pharmaceutical industry. Since 2000, U.S. cessation policy has stressed “medication” for “all” quitters unless contraindicated.

More Nevada long-term smokers quit smoking cold turkey each year than by all other methods combined. Sadly, the quitting-with-medication era, with its false “double your chances” promise, has brought successful cessation to its knees.

What sense does it make for the CDC to continue to discourage quitting cold turkey? The CDC either needs to suspend current cessation policy or clean house, employing a cessation team that doesn’t behave like pharmaceutical industry employees.

The author is a nicotine cessation educator and director of WhyQuit.com.

Las Vegas Sun letter to the editor source link 
http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2012/ma ... ld-turkey/

© Las Vegas Sun, 2012, All Rights Reserved
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