Quitters Most Likely to Use "Cold Turkey" Strategy

August 8th, 2013, 7:54 pm#1

Quitters Most Likely to Use "Cold Turkey" Strategy

Gallup Poll releases survey discussing how former smokers quit smoking.

Quitters Most Likely to Use "Cold Turkey" Strategy

The quarter of Americans who have successfully quit smoking, when asked to name the strategies or methods they used to quit, are most likely to attribute their success to just deciding to quit "cold turkey." Smaller percentages of reformed smokers name willpower, support from family and friends and prayer, use of the nicotine patch, ceasing to be around people who smoke, using chewing gum or candy, and using an electronic cigarette.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/163763/smoke ... times.aspx

Related video from Gallup Poll:

http://www.gallup.com/video/163826/near ... urkey.aspx

Related WhyQuit.com videos:

How did the people you know quit smoking?

Cold turkey quitting

Cold turkey quitting defined

Is cold turkey the only way to quit?

My first encounter with NRT

Comparing quits with others

Why Freedom is a cold turkey site?
Last edited by Joel Spitzer on August 8th, 2013, 7:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.

August 8th, 2013, 9:44 pm#2

For links to resources discussing cold turkey quitting as contrasted to other quitting aids, visit the page [font='TIMES-ROMAN', TIMES, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', SERIF]The Limitations of the use of Nicotine Replacement Products[/font]


topend aussie

August 12th, 2013, 1:36 am#3

Paraphrasing from the Video;

"Unfortunately the advice was that there's no magic bullet.....
they quit cold turkey."

Maybe he should have said, there is a magic bullet and it's free, it's called cold turkey!


August 12th, 2013, 5:01 pm#4

"[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]Maybe he should have said, there is a magic bullet and it's free, it's called cold turkey!"[/font]

Couldn't agree more. 

I thought of another article that I believe deserves to be included in this string.

From the string "What ever you do don't quit cold turkey!"

Whatever you do don't quit cold turkey!

Most medical professionals believe that the way to quit smoking is to use pharmacological aids. They think that pharmacological aids are an effective tool for smoking cessation. Why do they believe this? They believe it because almost all of the smoking professionals of the world tell them that they work. Even the Surgeon General of the United States says that they work. If almost all world experts believe that they work, and the Surgeon General says that they work, well then they must really work. Right?

Well, I look at it like this. Lets say I see a published story come out that says a specific pill prevents colds in 100% of the cases in human trials. Then another study verifies it. In fact, every expert in the world comes out and says colds no longer exist -- the pill has eradicated them.

But most people I knew who took this miracle pill still got colds. Worse than that, I took the pill myself and all of my friends who were on the pill kept giving the cold to me. Pretty soon I would dismiss those studies and no matter how many times I see it I would not believe it. Sooner or later I would have to believe my own eyes and ears, basically my own instincts, more than expert opinion.

I have seen people use the argument of who should they believe, the Surgeon General of the United States or me. I somehow get the idea that people think that the Surgeon General is a person who has spent years and decades working with nicotine addicts. That somehow being an expert in smoking cessation is a prerequisite for being the Surgeon General.

I have been running stop smoking clinics since 1976. Back in 1976 I told my second group that they were nicotine addicts. If the people in my 1976 clinics were skeptical and wrote the Surgeon General and asked him if it were true that nicotine was a drug addiction he would have answered no it was not.

It was clearly spelled out in the 1964 Surgeon General's Report that cigarette smoking was not an addiction. In the report of the Surgeon General back in 1979 the Surgeon General was starting to say that maybe it was an addiction, but still had put the emphasis on the habit of smoking being the primary problem. In 1988 the Surgeon General finally issued a report stating once and for all that nicotine was an addictive substance.

In all of the programs I did from 1976 through 1987 I was constantly criticized and attacked for saying that cigarette smokers were drug addicts but I had too much first hand contact with smokers trying to quit that was making it abundantly clear that the Surgeon General was wrong. So I accepted the fact that the Surgeon General and most of the experts of the world were not going to agree with me. For eleven years I was wrong that smoking was an addiction because the Surgeon General said I was wrong yet today I am no longer wrong on this fact.

The same thing is happening now when it comes to issues like the effectiveness of all of the quitting aids available today. The Surgeon General and most of the world experts say that these products increase success and that people should not quit cold turkey. Again, I have still have too much first hand contact with people who are trying to quit using these products as well as too much contact with people who are actually quitting and succeeding without their use. It is still all too obvious that in real world settings these products do not increase success and that people have a much greater chance of success by disregarding the experts advice.

So I think I am going to just take a wait and see attitude on what the Surgeon General will say ten years or twenty years from now on what is the most effective way to quit smoking. Maybe he or she will have come around by then, maybe not. But I know one thing for sure. That all of the people who decided to follow my advice on how to quit, and then stay committed in the interim to the advice that I gave them on how to remain smoke free, that all of these people will still be successful ex-smokers.

My advice to them, that is so controversial today, is simply that to quit smoking and to stay smoke free is no more complicated than just knowing to Never Take Another Puff!
Last edited by Joel Spitzer on August 13th, 2013, 12:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

August 15th, 2013, 3:08 pm#5

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php? ... 2829380969
How do most smokers stop smoking? A new Gallup Poll found that 48 times as many successful ex-smokers credit cold turkey for their success as credit nicotine gum. 

http://www.gallup.com/poll/163763/smoke ... times.aspx

But it's actually far worse. If you add up all poll responses falling under the generally accepted definition of cold turkey (abrupt and complete cessation of a drug without use of quitting medications or procedures) the percentage of cold turkey quitters skyrockets to at least 75 percent.

An excited Joel Spitzer - WhyQuit's education director - created a video in response to the the poll:   Quitters Most Likely to Use "Cold Turkey" Strategy

"Whenever I was dealing with anybody when it came to understanding how people quit smoking I said, 'if you want to find out how to quit, the successful way to quit, talk to people you know who quit smoking,'" suggests Joel. 

Regarding the new Gallup Poll, "It's a study I've been looking for for decades," notes Joel. "When they looked at former smokers and ask them how they quit, 48 percent of those who had successfully quit smoking had done so by cold turkey." 

"If you actually go and add the numbers up, not just the 48 percent that's said they were cold turkey, but other methods that were mentioned, that if you really look at them, they are methods that look like they didn't use any quitting aids. They had other things motivating them start, so they weren't called cold turkey quitters." 

"But if you look at their techniques, they were cold turkey quitters. So if you want to go at add those numbers in too, you see the number becomes even much, much higher. But still, the real significance here is, the #1 way that former smokers say that they quit smoking was cold turkey, which is wonderful to see finally," says Joel.

"Overwhelmingly, the method identified by ex-smokers as most effective for quitting was "cold turkey," wrote Boston University School of Public Health professor Michael Siegel, MD in his August 13 blog.

"It is very clear that despite the findings of clinical trials, when you examine the question on a population basis, cold turkey quitting is the most effective strategy and the "recommended," "FDA-approved" quitting methods are not particularly useful," notes Professor Siegel.

"What does this mean? It demonstrates what I've been arguing for months: that although clinical trials have found that NRT and drugs are effective, the absolute cessation rates are dismally low. Thus, these approaches cannot be said to be "effective" strategies for smoking cessation on a population basis." 

"It also demonstrates that most clinical trials results are meaningless because they involve not just NRT or drugs but intensive intervention involving multiple medical visits, assessments, counseling, etc," wrote Professor Siegel. "When used in real-life settings, these products are not nearly as effective. And of course, that is what matters most, not the clinical trial results." 

Link to Dr. Siegel's blog: http://tobaccoanalysis.blogspot.com/201 ... ey-is.html

"I didn't see anything in the news about this," notes Joel Spitzer. "I haven't seen anything in a normal search engines I use on a regular basis, on smoking and nicotine and addiction. Nothing, nothing! I haven't seen a word about this in the media, and it looks like this has been out for a few days now."

"I've got to tell you, that if this Gallup Poll was commissioned, and it showed that some pharmaceutical product was #1 on the list, oh my God, this thing would have been blasted on every news station. This would be in every newspaper. This would be all over the media right now," asserts Joel. "Right now, you can't find it. It's not there for anyone to see." 

"This is telling," suggests Joel. "It goes to show you that unless there's a way of making money out of this, this is a public health issue, unless there's a way that someone is going to make a big bucks out of a result, you just don't see the result."

The bottom line? After nearly four decades of the nicotine gum and patch being the cornerstone of U.S. quit smoking policy, 94 percent of successful quitters quit without them.

This Gallop Poll shows why U.S. government assertions such as those appearing on the just revamped SmokeFree.gov website are so disturbing. There, it's asserted that "most people who quit don't quit cold turkey on their own" and that "medications can double your chances of quitting for good." 

Clearly both assertions are false. What possible motivation could U.S. health officials have for actually lying to smokers and discouraging their natural quitting instincts? 

As Professor Siegel notes in his August 12 blog, the pharmaceutical industry helps fund CDC research (http://tobaccoanalysis.blogspot.com/201 ... -from.html).

Also, ten percent of the FDA's budget is paid by the pharmaceutical industry by way of drug approval user fees, an eye-popping $1.2 billion during 2012. 

This Gallup Poll suggests that failure of the CDC, NCI and FDA to study and share the keys to successful abrupt nicotine cessation, and failure to support and encourage smart turkey quitting has, since 1984, likely cost millions of smokers their lives.

More than 400,000 annual smoking related deaths, when will U.S. health leadership at last step forward? To quote from the 1983 "Basic Text of Narcotics Anonymous," "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results." 

If you pray, please pray for honest and wise health leadership, that's willing to speak truth to economic power and muscle. 

This link is to a permanent WhyQuit page documenting the Gallop Poll's methods for quitting smoking question: http://whyquit.com/studies/Gallup_Poll_July_2013.html

Last edited by Joel Spitzer on August 15th, 2013, 4:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

August 16th, 2013, 12:40 pm#6

Another new video related to the Gallup Survey:

"Whatever you do, don't quit cold turkey"
Last edited by Joel Spitzer on November 21st, 2013, 2:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.


August 20th, 2013, 10:42 am#7

I found these stats very interesting.  If 24% of the smokers say they don't want to quit, but only 12% say they never made a serious attempt to quit, then by this focus group half of smokers who say they don't want to quit have failed at least 1 serious attempt to quit.  Listen to the majority of former smokers all over the country, and quit cold turkey, with will-power, and support! (and this includes a rather significant % of 'other', and 'no opinion').

For those skeptical about the validity of the poll, there's information about the nature and process of the poll at the end of the article, and a link for an adobe file which has additional information including the exact questions of the poll, the numbers of respondents, and over 50 years worth of poll results.  I thought the trends were interesting.

August 20th, 2013, 1:00 pm#8

"[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]If 24% of the smokers say they don't want to quit, but only 12% say they never made a serious attempt to quit, then by this focus group half of smokers who say they don't want to quit have failed at least 1 serious attempt to quit. "[/font][font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]
[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]The string [/font]Can we help a person quit when they are pretty sure they don't want to quit? touches on how many people who say they don't want to quit often find that they have more of a desire to stop once they understand more about why they really smoke. It is hard for smokers to say or think that they want to quit when they have so many false perceptions of the "benefits" they believe they gain from smoking--things like being more productive, having more energy, and being calmer.

The video "Smoking Benefits?" discusses these false beliefs, as well as the videos The fear of quitting smoking"I'll be a nervous wreck forever if I quit smoking" and "I'll never be as productive again if I quit smoking"

It is amazing but now three weeks after the result of the survey, I have yet to see or hear a single word in any media discussing this Gallup poll--anywhere. Not in any news releases, television or radio coverage, and not a single word about it written at any single quit smoking or tobacco control website that I looked at other than the discussions John and I started at one group of professionals in tobacco control that basically went unacknowledged by most members.

Has any member here seen any word of the survey in any local media in your areas?


Judy Anderson

August 20th, 2013, 10:14 pm#9

I have not seen any word of this survey in my local media, or anywhere except for here for that matter. On my next day off I will try to figure out how to get this information out in my area. It surely shows the power the tobacco companies have ... not good.
1, month, 4 weeks,10 hours, 11 minutea without nicotine
1748 horrible cigarettes not smoked
$786.75 saved
dedicated to NTAP
The bottom line? After nearly four decades of the nicotine gum and patch being the cornerstone of U.S. quit smoking policy, 94 percent of successful quitters quit without them.
Last edited by Judy Anderson on August 20th, 2013, 11:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

August 20th, 2013, 11:18 pm#10

I am afraid it is not just the tobacco companies who are exerting influences here. Pharmaceutical companies have a lot to lose if this information is understood and they have a higher level of credibility with health care professionals.

This is why I hope that all of our members and readers share this survey information with their health care providers--physicians, dentists and other allied health care professionals. They have been mislead as much as the general public, and maybe even more and they have the potential of helping many smokers who they encounter every day.

Here are links to resources you may want to share with them:

WhyQuit's patient resources

Also the link to the actual Gallup survey: http://www.gallup.com/poll/163763/smoke ... times.aspx

And these videos and articles from above:

"Whatever you do, don't quit cold turkey"
http://www.gallup.com/video/163826/near ... urkey.aspx

The Limitations of the use of Nicotine Replacement Products

Not sure exactly where this quote came from, "[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]The bottom line? After nearly four decades of the nicotine gum and patch being the cornerstone of U.S. quit smoking policy, 94 percent of successful quitters quit without them." but it reminded me of this article:[/font]
40 Years of Progress?

Judy Anderson

August 20th, 2013, 11:36 pm#11

Thank you Joel for all the links. I plan to share this information. I see my doctor next week for a regular annual appointment and will write down and give all this information to him. 


August 21st, 2013, 3:13 am#12

Joel Spitzer wrote:
Has any member here seen any word of the survey in any local media in your areas?

I haven't noticed anything, but I don't watch tv, or seek nicotine education anywhere else but here on the whyquit network, here at the freedom forum.  The only thing I knew about smoking before coming here was what either smokers or non-smokers said about smoking.


August 23rd, 2013, 2:47 pm#13

Hi Joel,

I finally found the article about this latest cold turkey quitters Gallup pole!!! It was in Huffington Post on August 4th.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/0 ... 84381.html

Perhaps you or John could leave a reply to the post!!


****OK...nevermind....John already did!!! LOL

August 23rd, 2013, 4:23 pm#14

Thanks Mary. That was the only one that I was aware of and had saw that John had commented soon after it was released. I need to check with John to see if he came across other versions of the story.


August 24th, 2013, 7:02 am#15

I haven't seen anything in the UK but I hope it makes its way over here. I cannot see how you can break an addiction by continuing to take the substance in a different form. I get quite cross that our National Health Service spends so much money on stop smoking programmes which use patches etc.


August 26th, 2013, 12:46 pm#16

Wow, I came across this article from the UK, dated 08/06/13 talking about the Gallup survey.  They totally twisted the report, did not post a link to the survey and said the UK news media recommends Champix by Phizer to help you quit.  There have been no comments at this site yet.

http://www.ukmedix.com/news/champix/gal ... it7070.cfm

Sign me shocked,
Free since 01-21-13

***I just read another article talking of the Gallup poll, by John Hopkins Health information.  They totally downplayed the cold turkey method and focused on other "more successful methods" of course, all types of nicotine replacement and drugs.  They must have read a different poll!!!  How can they print stuff like this???  if you want to read their twist on this poll, I've copied the link.  https://www.liveandworkwell.com/smoking ... ucketID=13
Last edited by Mardan59 on August 26th, 2013, 1:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

August 26th, 2013, 1:03 pm#17

I wished I could say I was shocked, but this is standard fare. Either ignore or pretend that studies or surveys that show that cold turkey is the method most likely to produce success even exist or  spin the result of the study or survey to somehow end up recommending the use of the less successful products.

Here is a detailed post from back in 2006 discussing this practice:

http://ffn.yuku.com/reply/94979/Cold-tu ... eply-94979

August 26th, 2013, 1:12 pm#18

[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]One more example of how researchers or policy makers make what I believe are unwarranted or unsupported conclusions or recommendations to specific data interpretations. It happened back in 2003 in the Malta Medical Journal. [/font]

[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]Here is a link to the study: [/font]http://www.um.edu.mt/umms/mmj/showpdf.php?article=17

[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]Excerpts from that PDF file [/font]

[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]Quantitative Results [/font]
[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]There were 246 applicants who applied for the 13 smoking cessation clinics organised by the ! Health Promotion Department in Malta during the year starting in October 1999. Out of these, only 134 presented themselves for the introductory session, with this number falling to 101 for Session No. 2 - the quit session (see Table 2). While the immediate success rate at the final session was 27% (n=27) as a percentage of the participants attending the quit session, the six-month success rate dropped to 10% (n=10), with dropouts being counted as smokers. [/font]

[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]Of these ten quitters who were still not smoking at six months after the end of the clinic: [/font]

[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]• seven were males, while three were females; [/font]

[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]three were aged 30-39 years (30%), two were between 40 and 49 years old (20%), four were in their 50's (40%), and one was 64 years old; [/font]

[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]• nine were continuously abstinent for the whole duration of the six months (one male had re-started smoking, only to quit again 3 months before the six-month follow-up); [/font]

[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]• [/font][font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]and only two (20%) had used nicotine! replacement therapy as an aid to stopping. [/font]

[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]Implications for improving the outcome [/font]

[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]The 10% prevalent abstinence rate (9% continuous abstinence rate) at six months after the end of the Malta clinics is low compared to international standards (20-30% in the UK16 and 15-30% in the USA1), particularly as these are measured at one year, and assuming no differences in the methods used and their application. [/font][font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]One significant factor that may account for this difference is the freedom of choice for use of pharmacotherapy (in this case, nicotine replacement therapy)[/font][font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]. While UK and US recommendations1,6,7,14,17 put pharmacotherapy (NRT and bupropion) as the cornerstone of therapy, [/font][font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]Maltese smoking cessation clinics still leave the choice for use or non-use of NRT to the participants[/font][font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]. [/font][font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]In fact, of the 10 quitters who were not smoking at six months after the end of their respective clinics, only two (20%) had used nicotine replacement therapy. [/font]

[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]Then from table six of that study: [/font]

[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]Table 6:[/font][font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF] Recommendations of study [/font]

[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]The use of pharmacotherapy (NRT and/or bupropion) as a cornerstone of smoking cessation clinics. [/font]

[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]Again, they disregarded the fact that the majority of success was seen with the people who did not use pharmacotherapy and instead said that one of the problems is that participants had too many choices, and the "logical" conclusion was somehow to make pharmacotherapy the cornerstone of treatment.[/font]
Last edited by Joel Spitzer on August 26th, 2013, 5:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.