My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: University of Oxford says Cold Turkey better at quitting smoking than e-cigarettes

Sunday, November 5, 2017

University of Oxford says Cold Turkey better at quitting smoking than e-cigarettes

“A lot of people think that the common sense way to give up smoking is to reduce the amount they smoke before quitting,”

Nicola Lindson-Hawley of the University of Oxford, who led a new study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

People who vape or smoke e-cigarettes, I have bad news for you, as the myth of vaping has been laid to rest. What the absolute best way to quit smoking?

According to researchers at the University of Oxford, cold-turkey is best as reported in the article “The Best Way to Quit Smoking, According to Science”, published March 14, 2016 by Mandy Oaklander, Time Magazine

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Researchers, who published their work in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, explored two options:

1.      Quitting cold turkey
2.      Gradually quitting  

Many have sought for answers on the best way to help people quit smoking. But which one works best?

University of Oxford and quitting smoking – Cold Turkey is best as e-cigarettes may be ineffective

Research done by Lindson-Hawley and her colleagues at the University of Oxford focused on 700 people in England who smoked at least 15 cigarettes a day but who were planning to quit. They divided the group as follows:

1.      50% were randomly assigned to smoke normally until their quit date, then to stop abruptly i.e. the abrupt group
2.      50% gradually reduced their smoking over the 2 weeks leading up to the appointed day i.e. the gradual-cessation group

Both groups receive the following support:

1.      Behavioral counseling
2.      Nicotine patches
3.      Nicotine replacement therapy i.e. gum, lozenges and mouth spray

Good to note that the research didn’t look at e-cigarettes which the Ministry of Health may plan to make prescription as noted in my blog article entitled “How Ministry of Health and Jamaica Customs Agency e-cigarette Mix-up hints at Prescription e-cigarettes”. 

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The results that came out are quite surprising:

1.      49% of the abrupt group were successful quitters
2.      39% of the gradual-cessation group were successful quitters

The abrupt group did 25% better than the gradual-cessation group. But the real surprise came when the researchers examined smoking abstinence for 4 weeks after the quit date, and then 6 months later.

After 6 months:

1.      22% of the abrupt groups were still smoke-free
2.      15% of the gradual-cessation groups were still smoke-free

So clearly the cold-turkey method used by the abrupt group is still more successful, as a personal preference to quitting does not impact on the success of quitting to quote Dr. Lindson-Hawley: “Even if people wanted to quit gradually, they were more likely to quit if they used the abrupt method”.

It also suggests e-cigarettes may not be as good as often promoted by many albeit the quitting rates for the gradual-cessation group are not bad, just less as noted by Dr. Lindson-Hawley: “the quit rates we found in the gradual group were still quite good.........If there are people who really feel they can’t quit abruptly, and they want to quit gradually—otherwise they won’t try to quit at all—we still need to support them to do that.”

So the choice is still yours as to how you want to kick the habit.

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