Going ‘cold turkey’ least effective way to quite smoking

Public Health England (PHE) has claimed that nearly 60 per cent of smokers still try to quit without using an aid and going ‘cold turkey’ despite this being the least effective way.

According to a report by the organisation, four in 10 smokers and ex-smokers incorrectly think that nicotine in cigarettes is the cause of most of the smoking-related cancer. According to figures, only 7.5 per cent thought that none or a very small part of the risk of smoking comes from nicotine, 14 per cent thought that it was nearly all the risk, while 24.2 per cent of the population didn’t know.

Public misunderstanding of the harmfulness of nicotine containing products, such as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) and e-cigarettes, may be linked to inaccurate and confused perception of the risks of nicotine. Research shows that using NRT as a quit aid, such as patches and gums, or e-cigarettes makes it one and a half times as likely you’ll succeed, while your chances of quitting are doubled if using a stop smoking medicine prescribed by a GP, pharmacist or other health professional.

John Newton, Director of Health Improvement at PHE, said: “Misunderstanding about the risks from nicotine may be deterring smokers from using quit aids such as e-cigarettes or nicotine replacement therapies like patches and gums. Nicotine is addictive but it’s the many thousands of chemicals in tobacco smoke that are responsible for almost all of the harm caused by smoking. Using nicotine quit aids helps manage cravings and can be one of the solutions to helping you stop for good. Going ‘cold turkey’ is not recommended as it’s the least successful way.

“To get the most benefit, make sure you use as much nicotine replacement as you need, and for as long as you need, as this will help you stop smoking and stay smokefree. Combining quit aids with support from a stop smoking service gives the best success rates. With the wide range of aids now available, there’s never been a better time to stop.

“For a truly smokefree NHS to become a reality, our emphasis is to support hospitals shift their efforts away from simply ‘enforcing’ no smoking towards offering on-going support to help smokers stop for good, including encouraging them to use quit aids. Smoking rates are at their lowest ever level (15.5 per cent of the adult population), but there are still nearly seven million smokers in England. Smoking kills 79,000 people in England every year and for every death another 20 smokers are suffering from a smoking-related disease.”

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