Going Cold Turkey
Going cold turkey is still Australia's preferred method to quit smoking, research shows.
A poll of more than a thousand recent quitters, conducted by the Cancer Institute NSW, found 69 per cent had opted for an unaided and abrupt end to their habit.
Younger smokers in particular were likely to go cold turkey, said lead researcher Dr Wai Tak (Arthur) Hung.
"Our survey suggests that efforts to reduce the overall smoking rate ... can be best served by continuing to motivate smokers to quit through anti-tobacco mass media campaigns and to support smokers choosing cold turkey, and `cut down then quit` approaches," Dr Hung said.
"We should also continue to assess the effectiveness and accessibility of other methods, to ensure a diversity of needs is met such as smokers of disadvantaged backgrounds or those that prefer assisted methods."
When asked what methods the former smokers had used to help them quit, 69 per cent nominated going cold turkey.
Cutting down cigarette intake before going cold turkey was also popular, nominated by 29 per cent.
The same number (29 per cent) also said they had used nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), such a quit smoking patches or gum.
Other less popular methods included using prescription drugs, calling quit smoking helplines, going online for information and support, switching to so-called light cigarettes and reading self-help books.
A separate question on what method the quitters found most helpful turned up going cold turkey, cutting down before quitting and NRT again at the top the list.
The research was presented on Friday at the Asia Pacific Conference on Tobacco or Health 2010, held in Sydney.
A radical plan was also floated at the conference that would impose a government-enforced "cut down then quit" program on the whole of New Zealand.
Academics from the University of Otago, in Wellington, detailed a plan that would require periodic reductions to the nation's tobacco supply.
Dwindling availability of tobacco products would forcibly wean smokers off their habits, drive up cigarette prices and allow a date to be set for an end to all tobacco sales.
Professor Tony Blakely said the move could add three years to the average lifespan of New Zealanders, and improve quality of life.
"It's unethical to simply watch as thousands of people die each year due to smoking in New Zealand, while we wait for the gradual passing of the tobacco epidemic," he said.
"We must put in place methods for a more predictable and faster end to smoking." Going cold turkey is worth concidering.
© 2010 AAP Brought to you by Danny Rose, Medical Writer.
Source - Sydney Morning Herald October 8, 2010