Quitting smoking cold turkey just as effective as using the patch

Saving money is one of the more popular spurs to quit smoking, but with nicotine patches and gum lumped into pricey kick-the-habit programs (hell, they even have hypnotism these days), the quitting can be pretty expensive itself. As it turns out, nicotine patches don't actually help smokers much at all, and quitting cold turkey is just as effective.

That old smoker's joke — "quitting's easy; I've done it tons of times" — has particular relevance in a sample of 787 adults who had quit smoking two years previous and were checked in with twice during that time. The first time, 30.6 percent has relapsed. The second time, 31.6 percent had.

The kicker: ex-smokers using the gum and nicotine patches were just as likely to cease their expensive habit than those who had quit cold turkey (which means simply tossing your smokes into the trash and dealing with some less-than-fantastic feelings for a while).

Tobacco Control, a journal, published these results, which conflict with results published previously by the Food and Drug Administration. That study showed that folks are three times more likely to kick smoking with a stylish patch than they are with nothing but the power of human will.

But the majority of real-world studies show these smoking cessation aids are not helpful and often times can actually be detrimental to quitting.

Wrote the researchers: "This may indicate that some heavily dependent smokers perceive NRT [nicotine replacement therapy] as a sort of 'magic' pill, and upon realizing it is not, they find themselves without support in their quitting efforts, doomed to failure."

Since Americans spend $1.5 billion — yeah, with a "b" — on smoking cessation products every year, and a good chunk of that particular change comes from public health programs, this study has more impact than simply can neighbor Bob quit ruining your porch-sitting time with his cigs.

GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, the cleverly named company that makes Nicorette, Nicoderm and Commit lozenges said most adults in the study didn't use the products for eight weeks, as directed (and that following directions is important).

Said the company, "Hundreds of clinical trials involving more than 35,000 participants and extensive consumer use for more than 20 years have proven both the efficacy and safety of NRT when used as directed."

In the end, though, smokers wanting to quit one of the most addictive substances in the world need to do whatever works for them. So if you're thinking of kicking that habit to the curb, then good luck to you.

Just remember, it won't be easy, whatever method you choose.

Via LA Times

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