Cold turkey is the best way to quit smoking
By Emily Cook 10/02/2010
Forget nicotine patches, the best way to give up smoking is by going cold turkey, experts insist.
And scientists say health authorities make quitting sound harder than it is by bombarding people with an array of drug replacement therapies they don't need.
A study found almost three out of four smokers gave up without any help, despite pressure from drugs companies and doctors who offer gums and patches.
Lead researcher Dr Simon Chapman said health authorities and advertisers make quitting sound impossible without the aids, so many folk never bother trying. He added: "Two-thirds to three-quarters of former smokers stop unaided.
"In contrast, the increasing medicalisation of smoking cessation implies that it needs to be pharmacologically mediated.
"Health authorities should emphasis the positive message that the most successful method used by most ex-smokers is unaided cessation."
The study in Sydney found nicotine addicts were being misled about the best way to quit. Dr Chapman said: "The massive decline in smoking before the advent of cessation treatment is often forgotten.
"This decline started following coverage of a 1964 US report.
"Researchers noted that 'per capita consumption likely would have exceeded its actual 1975 value by 20 to 30%' without this decline.
"Other than the first small pack warnings that appeared from 1966 in the USA, this effect occurred without any elements of today's comprehensive approaches to tobacco control.
"Often when the state intervenes to cope with some health-related problems, it is bound to act so as to further commodify health needs."
75% of those who quit for good do so without any need to use patches or gums