Smoking Cessation: Gradual Withdrawal Vs. Cold Turkey

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There are many strategies that you can use to help with smoking cessation, but two of the most prominent ways of kicking the tobacco habit are quitting cold turkey and quitting by way of gradual withdrawal. Both can be successful but both can also fail. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of both methods to help you discern which one would potentially work best for you if you have decided that you want to quit smoking.

Gradual Withdrawal

The gradual withdrawal method of smoking cessation means cutting back your cigarette intake day by day. If you are a pack a day smoker (or more), then this means cutting back by one cigarette a day. If you are a social smoker this means skipping that part of your next party or group outing experience. The point of the gradual withdrawal method is to mitigate the shocking effects of immediate smoking cessation. Proponents claim it is a good way to be deliberate and test will power and endurance and it helps ease the transition from being a smoker to a non-smoker.  However, there are complications that go along with this smoking cessation method. The main problem is that it is easy at first and becomes harder later. For example, it is easier for a pack a day smoker to smoke one less cigarette a day when they are at day one with 20 cigarettes in the pack then when they are at day eighteen and staring at a virtually empty package. Since smokers still smoke during gradual withdrawal, they are able to linger longer in the space of denial instead of accepting the reality of what they are doing—starting down the path of a tobacco free lifestyle. This can also lead to rationalization later of being occasional smokers instead of totally kicking the habit.

Cold Turkey

Cold turkey is a very popular smoking cessation method—one of the most well-known and brutal. Cold turkey means abruptly quitting smoking without any aids or assistance from the nicotine patch or occasional cigarette. Cold turkey is a habit that, unlike gradual withdrawal, does not keep you in denial but makes you face reality right away. Cold turkey does not always have a high success rate and this is often attributed to the unbearable symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. However, if you believe that smoking just a habit, the direction in which many experts are heading, then you know that cold turkey failures likely stem from the fact that the underlying reasons for developing the smoking habit in the first place have not been properly addressed. Smokers have many reasons that they engage in tobacco use, from stress relief to building up courage in social situations, and if smokers aren’t aware of why they light up each cigarette, they will definitely have a harder time putting them out for good.

Smoking is a hard habit to quit, but if you believe that it is a psychosocial habit, there is a better way to quit than cold turkey or gradual withdrawal: hypnosis. Hypnosis is often used as a therapeutic method and it can help solve a range of problems from anxiety and depression to addictions. Hypnotherapists help their patients enter a trance-like state in which they are then receptive to suggestions that help them form new habits and behaviors by changing their unconscious beliefs. Using hypnotherapy as a smoking cessation approach is harmless, fast and effective. If you are looking for a healthy way to quit smoking and change your habits and beliefs then give hypnotherapy a try—it is worth it.