I am every smoker’s worst nightmare. As an ex-smoker myself – it was the 60s during my art college days, what can I say? – I now have little tolerance for smokers who whine about how tough it is to quit. Back when I finally decided to kick the stinky habit, before marrying David (my anti-smoking fiancé), we were still 20 years away from modern quit-smoking help. There were no nicotine patches or pills or gum or any program to help us. It was just white-knuckling cold turkey and hard candy all the way – what scientists call unaided smoking cessation.
But Australian research published this spring in the Public Library of Science Medicine now suggests that unaided cessation methods (cold turkey or gradually reducing before quitting) is actually the most successful way to quit after all, despite Big Pharma’s expensive campaigns to convince us why we need to buy their products if we really want to quit.
In fact, as with problem drinking, gambling, and narcotics use, population studies show consistently that up to three-quarters of smokers who permanently stop smoking do so without any form of assistance. Continue reading