What Should I Do if I Cut Back, but I'm Having Trouble Quitting?

First, get rid of the cigarettes. If they aren’t around, it reduces the chances of smoking because by the time you run out to get a cigarette or bum one off a friend, the urge will likely pass. Second, consider going cold turkey and not tapering. The chances of being successful jump when people quit cold turkey.

In one study, participants quit smoking abruptly or they reduced smoking gradually by 75% in the 2 weeks before quitting. Each group received behavioral support and nicotine replacement before and after the quit date. At 6 months, 22% of those who quit cold turkey were tobacco free while only 15.5% of those who tapered first were smoke free. The authors concluded, “Quitting smoking abruptly is more likely to lead to lasting abstinence than cutting down first, even for smokers who initially prefer to quit by gradual reduction.”

So, on your next try, consider going cold turkey and not just tapering from where you are now. Also, take what you have learned about what makes it so hard to quit. Examine your patterns and see when you have the greatest urge to smoke. Is it when you are stressed, in your car, on a walk, during work breaks, after work, with a drink, after sex, with morning coffee, or when people around you smoke? This knowledge will help you develop ways to avoid the temptation or to deal with it when it occurs.

It has also been shown that attacking the problem with medication, nicotine replacement therapy, and behavior modification assisted by smartphone apps is far more successful than any one method.

This information is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.  

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