Smoking is clearly harmful to health, and it is not only for the smoker but also for those who are close to him, whether at the time of smoking, so-called passive smokers or so-called third-hand smokers, who are those who end up inhaling the harmful substances in tobacco smoke once they have been deposited everywhere. So, quitting smoking is one of the best decisions you can make in your life because it will improve your life both personally and socially.
Quitting smoking is not easy
The fact is that quitting smoking is not easy, some say that it has to be done gradually so that the body does not play tricks on us, but others bet because it is a decision that has to be made one second and put into practice the next. In fact, a recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom determined that the probability of success is greater when it is done in a radical way.
Nicola Lindson-Hawley, director of research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, explains that “having to gradually reduce the number of cigarettes is an extra effort. But the truth is, as we found in our study, people prefer the idea of quitting gradually to that of quitting radically. However, once you choose one of the two strategies, the likelihood of success is greater when you quit abruptly than gradually.
Give up smoking radically or gradually?
The majority of the smoking population believes that it is best to stop smoking gradually, by progressively reducing the number of cigarettes until quitting completely. So, to assess which strategy is best, the researchers recruited 697 smokers who wanted to quit and divided them into two groups: one “quitting abruptly” and one “quitting gradually. Both groups received the necessary support and counseling in the case and had access to nicotine patches and replacement therapies such as nicotine gum.
Upon reaching ‘D’ day when they quit smoking, all volunteers received weekly counseling at the doctor’s office for a period of one month. And in addition to asking them how they were doing if they were smoking – for example, the anxiety they felt after quitting – the researchers measured the carbon monoxide levels exhaled by the participants – an objective parameter that makes it possible to assess whether, indeed, ex-smokers are still smokers.
After the four-week counselling phase, the percentage of participants who had quit smoking definitively was 49% in the ‘abrupt cessation’ group and 39% in the ‘gradual cessation’ group. That is, the probability of success was 25% higher in case of radical quitting. A greater success, moreover, which was already evident from day one – that is, 24 hours after ‘D’ day, the percentage of new ex-smokers was higher in the ‘abrupt cessation’ group.