Why not cold turkey?

I am interested to know why people feel that they need NRT or Champix to quit smoking ? What is it that people are afraid of ?

Surely the side effects of Champix are worse than 3 or 4 days of cold turkey, from what I have read the side effects of Champix last a lot longer than 3 or 4 days and in some circumstances are a lot worse.

Also with NRT surely that means that nicotine is still being put into our bodies? This must just make the process longer and more intense ?

I appreciate that each person is different but I am struggling to understand the logic behind the different methods. Is anyone aware of the statistics ? Which is the most effective way of quitting?

Mark

40 Replies

oldestnewest
  • Each to their own

    Hi Jan, I am glad you are finding the forum a help with your stopping smoking and it’s also great that you have found your ideal way to quit.

    The reason we all choose different Roads to stop smoking is simply because we are all different, not everyone can achieve quitting by the same technique, I chose to go CT but it doesn’t make me any braver than someone who uses whatever form they choose, what it does make us all is hopefully non smokers not afraid.

    If you are quitting surely it makes not a jolt of difference if it takes 3 days or 3 months as long as the quitter gets to the same place we are all heading for.

    I am just glad I got there no matter what the vehicle I chose, and if I was unlucky enough to find myself smoking in the future (hope I don’t but we never know do we) I will quit with whatever method helps at the time.

    CT works for you but please don’t knock the other options as you never know if one day you might need one of them.

  • Its an interesting question. To say I am a cold turkey fan is abit strong (as I didn't enjoy one second of it) but it is, for me, at least the most logical method of quitting. I want Nicotine out of my body once and for all.

    I think however, its about the two types of quitting - the physical v the mind. NRT allows people to beat the mind piece first - i.e. remove the smoking triggers then they attack the physical. Whereas with cold turkey - you kinda do both at the same time.

    There is an arguement to say that NRT prolongs the withdrawal (as apparently you don't get Nicotine delivered in the same way). However, I have seen people quit this way effectively but have also noticed that they seem to struggle with craves for longer.

    As for Champix - most have said its positive - the drug takes away alot of the craves and I think that the side-effects are not as bad for some.

    Whatever way is chosen - its a bloody hard journey!!! Its also a case of each to their own - as long as we stay smoke free - its all good!

    Chris

  • CT works for you but please don’t knock the other options as you never know if one day you might need one of them.

    I am not knocking anyone - if you actually read my post properly you would of read that I clearly stated "I appreciate that each person is different but I am struggling to understand the logic behind the different methods"

    So jamangie, please read my post correctly before commented, if not please do not respond at all.

    Chris - Totally agree that the end result is what matters here - I'm just curious as to why people choose a specific method ? Is it because of failed attempts or purely physcological?

    Nothing like a good debate eh ? lol

    Cheers

    Mark

  • Nrt - ct -???

    I guess we are all different - and a good thing too!

    My personal belief is that 99% of addiction is in the head.

    My Dad was a very heavy smoker and lived to 80. He died 11 years ago. For the last 5 years of his life, his circulation was buggered (guess what did that?) and he barely got out of bed. He still smoked 30 a day. As his health deteriorated he had several spells in hospital. Each time he went into hospital he didn't smoke, sometime this was for a week or 10 days. It didn't seem to bother him. When he came out, guess what, he started smoking 30 a day again!

    The same thing happened with my Mum. She was diagnosed with lung cancer, as far as you can be with lung cancer she was lucky, she went from living independently and feeling a little unwell to dying in 7 weeks. She too was a heavy smoker and during her illness had a couple of spells in hospital (thankfully not too many, she was at home almost until the end). Just like my father when in hospital she would happily not smoke for several days and then, when she came out start on 30 a day again!

    Most of this is in our head, that doesn’t make it any easier, in fact it makes it harder – my cravings are sometimes just as hard now as they were on day one, in spite of there having been no nicotine in me after three days of stopping.

    To me the above shows two things very clearly, firstly that addiction is mostly a “habit” in the literal sense of the word rather than a physical dependence. Secondly that this “habit” is extremely difficult to break; I watched fags kill both my parents and yet until October 21st 2011 I still smoked like a bloody chimney.

    However - NOT ANYMORE

    Sorry to go on so long – really wanted a fag but it has passed now!

    gtat

  • This is just a personal response, I can't speak for any other NRT users, and certainly not Champix users.

    Why not cold turkey? Because I fear that, because of my depression, and how it affects me, if I went cold turkey I could be a danger to myself: 3 days is a long time if I get in a crisis mood. I know that sounds OTT, but believe me it's true (I'd rather it wasn't :(). For the same reason, I didn't want to try Champix, because it blocks the effect of the nicotine

    As for NRT continuing to put nicotine in me, I'm not hugely concerned anyway. I know there are risks in using nicotine long-term, but they no worse (in fact they are identical to) the anti-depressants I'm on. I don't know how successful I'll be at coming off either of them, but I do know if it's a choice between nicotine or my mental health, I'll carry on with the NRT. I know this is not what most people on here would agree with, but for me, it's the tobacco that was the issue. The concept of being 'addicted' doesn't bother me, it's more just an assessment of the risks. Smoking = lots of risks, nicotine = less risks.

    Just to pre-empt the idea that smoking could have caused my depression, I've had mental health problems from the age of 9, which pre-dates me smoking. It runs very strongly in my family. Smoking may or may not have made it worse; I might just have faulty dopamine pathways or whatever.I am going to start exercising regularly in an attempt to make it better.

    So, that's my reasoning, I hope I don't upset or annoy anyone, but it's the way I'm going about it. I might be worrying about nothing, but I'd rather take it slowly.

    Sorry for the long post, but I thought the question warranted a full answer.

    Jen x

  • Thanks Jen and a fantastic post.

    It is great to hear about other peoples reasons for choosing a specific method and you make some very valid points - my original post was not to cause an argument but simply to spark a discussion on peoples opinions.

    I too suffer with anxiety/depression but so far I have managed to stay away from having to take medication - alternative therapies so far have managed to keep me calm - in fact the fear of medication causing me side effects is part of my anxiety which for me ruled out anyhting like Champix, ony because I have read so many horror stories. Again this may go back to irrational fears. (anxiety)

    The bottomline I suppose is each individual has different issues/concerns & reasons for quitting. As long as the end result is a release from cigarettes then how we get there doesnt matter.

    Mark

  • Hi Mark,

    I tried to stop smoking cold turkey about 12 years ago after a course of acupuncture which made me feel great. I really didn't want to smoke but by the third day I felt so ill I didn't know what to do. And at that time, I didn't have any knowledge of what to expect and what happens to the body when we stop smoking. All I knew was that I felt I was going to collapse in a heap, and I was so confused I was walking in front of cars without realising I was doing it. Eventually I couldn't stand it anymore, so I bought a pack of 10 and then burst into tears because I really didn't want to smoke, I just didn't know how to cope with the withdrawal as it was too scary and I didn't know how long it would last for. If I had known then what I know now, and had had this forum to help me, I believe that quit attempt would have worked. But having such a bad experience put me off from trying again until September this year. NRT doesn't work for me as I tend to rip the patches off and smoke. But when I joined this forum and read about Champix, and the success people were having with it, I thought it was worth a shot. I also have a friend who couldn't quit smoking, but did it with Champix and is now 3 years quit. So I asked my doctor if I could try it, and here I am approaching the end of my seventh week without smoking. Okay, so the nausea from the tablets is uncomfortable but I do not have to take them forever. I guess I am one of these people who couldn't quit cold turkey as I needed a bit of 'loft insulation'. But in spite of that, I do believe that CT is the best method for those who can manage it, and I certainly give kudos to those who do.

    Zoe

  • Hi Karri,

    Hope you are doing well now:)

    Maybe anything other than cold turkey is just a placebo effect

    Interesting point, as sometimes I wonder if the Champix is a placebo effect, as I wonder where it was when I had cravings from hell?? It was me that got through those, not the tablet LOL:rolleyes: But I don't think that NRT is a placebo as you are still getting nicotine from that, so it will help with the craves in the short term and give a bit of comfort. I wasn't suited to it as it gave me heart palpitations and other nasties. So I guess it's whatever floats ya boat as they say:D Strangely enough I haven't taken my Champix yet today even though I am supposed to have another 6 weeks on it. Weird. But I am having a calm day today, and don't feel the need for a tablet as I don't feel like smoking. And I tell you what, I am so amazed at my increased fitness levels it is a great big WOW. I do still get craves, but now that I am finally feeling the benefits of not smoking, it is worth putting up with a crave as it is so great to be able to walk for miles. Decided today that I wish I had a bike, I thought I would never be able to ride one again, but now I think I could:p Used to love it when I was a kid and into my twenties too, but then the dreaded weed took over....

    Sorry for this rambly post but just a few thoughts.... and I definitely feel contented tonight for not smoking, just wish I wasn't so fat lol but that will be easy to deal with after the stop smoking process.

    So just for today all is cool with me.

    Zoe xxxx

  • agreed karri!!

    i did it cold turkey but it is not for everyone!

    like my mom has smoked a pack a day for 45 years and i wouldnt think she could quit ct--its just the way she is but she has yet to try to stop:(

    anyway i think its a personal choice and its good that if one method doesnt work we can always try to be successful with another!!

    have a great smoke free day everyone :D

  • Hiya francob,

    I'm quitting cold turkey after many unsuccessful quits using patches. I finally figured out (with the help of this forum and Allen Carr) that for me, NRT seemed to drag my withdrawal out over months. This was agony for me and so this time I went cold turkey and it's been far better with than using any NRT products. I must stress that this is best for me, now I've got it in my head that I'm a non-smoker it just seems to have clicked better than any other time I tried with the patches. I can't comment on Champix as that is a whole different mechanism of action and drug/receptor interaction.

    I was talking to my dad who was also a previous long-term smoker but quit 7 years ago. He said that for him the withdrawal symptoms were pure agony, as in physically "stomach twisting pain" agony (he smoked the same as me per day (12-15 a day) but smoked for longer though, about twice as long). He also went cold turkey as there really wasn't too many options out there back then (apart from patches). But this got me thinking...his withdrawal symtoms sounded way worse than any I've experienced so maybe NRT is better for those people (even though he managed to quit without it). Maybe some people experience worse symptoms than others and simply have a worse time of it than others and need that extra help to get them through it. Anyhoo just another thought. Sorry for rambling.

    Lisa x

  • wow interesting thread

    i suppose because of the adverts on tv and sites saying you can stop smoking if you use this product etc does have an effect on you at some level and it is a scary thought to suddenly deprive yourself of something that is part of your life so can relate to why alot use the nrt to help with the cravings i actually wanted to use the patches to help me through the withdrawel symptons but sadly they burnt my skin :eek: it didnt matter where i put them or which ones i used but with in about an hour my skin would start to itch and within two it would start to burn the pain actually kept my mind of not smoking bit and when i went to see my quit nurse she said she had never seen anyone react to the patches like that (shows how special i am)

    i thought i would have permanent scars on me where the patches had sat i did think about perhaps making a pretty pattern and take pics and try and get them in the tate gallery make loads of money and become famous :D (i have a weird sense of humour some would say im mad)

    anyway so i didnt really have alot of choice but to go cold turkey but my reasons support from family and friends plus the friends on here helped me to keep on the straight and narrow :D

    plus i read so much on the subject alot was very scary

    but everyone has a choice to choose not to smoke and i choose not to

  • Like with many things in life, people respond differently to different things. I have tried quitting 3 times all CT (one with hypnotherapy). This time I used NRT for a week and have continued into my quit to almost day 20 now (whoop, whoop).

    I think the NRT helped me to start with as I was able to concentrate on breaking certain habits. Once I began to feel slightly more comfortable/at ease with not always reaching for my 'pack of twenty', I felt I was able to go through the nictotine withdrawl...

    Has been a mainly positive quit and although some days have been tough, this forum, my list of reasons around the house as to why I have decided to quit and my saying of the day 'I will not smoke today' are helping me to get through an exciting, yet difficult challenge.

    :) Here's to not smoking! :)

  • Hey DM 21st was my first cig free day, only 24 hrs ahead of you. We will be on week 4 soon - can you believe it?

  • Hey gtat :)

    What a great feeling, eh?!

    My quit day is also the 21st, but didn't start until 9:30pm so am just starting my 20th day (3 weeks Friday)...can't wait to reach a month!

    It's so good to chat on here - celebrations and advice...all keeps you going! When I'm having a tough day, I come on here and read about someone having a positive day and it just spurs me on.

    Well done you - keep with it :)

  • withdrawal doesnt last 3 days, it takes 3 to 4 days to get all the nicotine out of your system if you quit cold turkey, but that doesnt mean your withdrawal will be over in that time. You may still crave, feel ill, tired etc all signs of withdrawal.

    Im using NRT the mini lozenges as I have smoked for 37 years and wanted to get over the physical habit and cut down on my nicotine intake without affecting my depression, post partum, which wasnt diagnosed 25 years ago.

    I have to say I was very shocked at your reply to jamangie. We all make mistakes when reading other peoples posts and up until now the response has been to *nicely* state what we meant, not to tell someone else who is here for support to either read it properly or not comment. I have to say that if the forum heads this way then people wont want to comment on anything.

    At the end of the day I wish you well with your quit however YOU decide to do it.

    Lillie

  • Nicotine is actually out of the body within 48 hours. I conned myself into thinking I had withdrawals which I didn't have because of all the crap I read on the internet, usually coming from litigious americans. However, when my doctor told me that the nicotine had gone from my body I made a miraculous recovery and the rest of it is all in my head. That is where my cravings now come from if I get them. BUT I do feel that it is impossible to recover from the psychological cravings without dealing with the physical addiction first. I have worked in the substance misuse field for several years now so I should know. It still shocks me though, that nicotine is not considered a 'substance', only drugs and alcohol. Shows how much the so-called professionals still have to learn. Lol not.

    Zoe

  • Zoe - I agree totally and posted as such earlier in this thread - 99%+ of this is in our heads. I don't say that makes it any easier though

    gtat

  • Cold Turkey - failed.

    Patches - Allergic to them, failed.

    Gum - Bad indigestion, failed.

    Microtabs - Mouth ulcers, failed.

    Inhalator - Friends like dit too much (head rush), failed.

    Hypnotherapy - Well, I expected that one to fail, which it did.

    Allen Carr's Book - Interesting perspective, but failed.

    So... as you can see, I am an expert in quitting! :o

    Zoe - I agree totally and posted as such earlier in this thread - 99%+ of this is in our heads. I don't say that makes it any easier though

    gtat

    And this is it exactly. Once a method had failed for me once, my nicotine-addled brain said there was no point in trying it again.

    I needed a new way to quit, and even though I have never really managed to take the tablets at full dose, Champix was in the right place at the right time. Sugar pills would probably have worked jut as well, because I was ready to give up.

    And I am also into month three now! :D

  • Well done Cathy:D

    If we want this quit badly enough we will find a way to do it. After all, if we wanted a cig badly enough we would get one whatever it took. So it doesn't matter how we quit as long as we do it. And look at you now, Month 3:cool: That is so awesome, hope I do it too.

    Many congrats;)

    Zoe

  • And look at you now, Month 3:cool: That is so awesome, hope I do it too.

    Zoe

    You will! :cool:

  • personally i was to scared to go cold turkey i felt i needed something untill i was mentally strong enough to cope without

    if i hadnt of used patches and inhalator i would never have tried quitting in the first place

    and also if i hadnt have used them i wouldn't be 10 months down the line now

    basically i needed them as a crutch to get me through the tough part till i was stronger

  • withdrawal doesnt last 3 days, it takes 3 to 4 days to get all the nicotine out of your system if you quit cold turkey, but that doesnt mean your withdrawal will be over in that time. You may still crave, feel ill, tired etc all signs of withdrawal.

    Im using NRT the mini lozenges as I have smoked for 37 years and wanted to get over the physical habit and cut down on my nicotine intake without affecting my depression, post partum, which wasnt diagnosed 25 years ago.

    I have to say I was very shocked at your reply to jamangie. We all make mistakes when reading other peoples posts and up until now the response has been to *nicely* state what we meant, not to tell someone else who is here for support to either read it properly or not comment. I have to say that if the forum heads this way then people wont want to comment on anything.

    At the end of the day I wish you well with your quit however YOU decide to do it.

    Lillie

    I have to say I am very shocked at your post here too ! - Are you the forum police ? Are you a moderator ? Have I overstepped any forum rules ? Have you not got anything better to do with your day ? Do you spend your day trolling through forums to stick up for people for no good reason?

    Honestly if jamangie has an issue with my response surely she will contact me or respond on this thread.

  • Honestly if Jamangie has an issue with my response surely she will contact me or respond on this thread.

    You’re so right, she will and she has, I did read your post correctly that’s why I responded, I always try to read the written word twice before I respond so the same went for yours, you stated "what people are afraid of" you also said you didn’t understand the Logic behind the other options, as for Lillie being the forum police and defending another forum member, you are right I can come back and defend my own statements, but it goes to show that she also thought your comments a little unkind so made her own post to reflect it, she has the right to do that because she disagreed with your comments and we encourage freedom of speech in the right way and this was done in my opinion in the right way.

    This is a great forum and I promise you that not everyone will agree with you all the time, or anyone else for that matter, but that’s what makes it great.

    I wish you well in you’re quit and hope that this time next year you are comfortably ensconced in the penthouse.

    As for statistics who gives a **** looking at success rates isn't always helpful for people wanting to quit because different things work for different people. Smokers' temperaments, the severity of the addictions and how many times they've tried to quit before can all play roles.

    "You have to find the combination that is right for you," I actually don’t think there are any real statistics because the only ones doing a survey are the producers of the NRT and I am sure they are going to give us the results Yea LOL in our dreams

  • Una-g,

    My response was calm & polite.

    Thanks

    Mark

  • Interesting thread, and a question I have also pondered.......!

    Made me think about my many previous attempts:

    Patches-Failed

    Inhilator-Failed

    Patches-Failed

    Acupuncture-Failed

    Patches-Failed

    Gum-Failed

    Hypnotherapy-Failed

    Minitabs-Failed

    Champix-Failed

    Patches+Inhilator+Nico Spray=Success.......this time!

    The only thing I don't recall trying was cold turkey. I think that after failing with all the above I probably reasoned that if I couldn't do it with the help I was unlikely to do it without......however......after having a bad time with the NRT I would agree that it defo prolongs withdrawals and cravings. I admire anyone who has the strength to go CT because I do think it's probably the best quit method overall.

    Pip

  • Wow Pip - You have tried it all by the looks of things.

    I am glad you have found the right mix to keep you quit this time, I guess in some cases it's just a case of trial and error.

    Keep it up.

    Mark

  • You’re so right, she will and she has, I did read your post correctly that’s why I responded, I always try to read the written word twice before I respond so the same went for yours, you stated "what people are afraid of" you also said you didn’t understand the Logic behind the other options, as for Lillie being the forum police and defending another forum member, you are right I can come back and defend my own statements, but it goes to show that she also thought your comments a little unkind so made her own post to reflect it, she has the right to do that because she disagreed with your comments and we encourage freedom of speech in the right way and this was done in my opinion in the right way.

    This is a great forum and I promise you that not everyone will agree with you all the time, or anyone else for that matter, but that’s what makes it great.

    I wish you well in you’re quit and hope that this time next year you are comfortably ensconced in the penthouse.

    As for statistics who gives a **** looking at success rates isn't always helpful for people wanting to quit because different things work for different people. Smokers' temperaments, the severity of the addictions and how many times they've tried to quit before can all play roles.

    "You have to find the combination that is right for you," I actually don’t think there are any real statistics because the only ones doing a survey are the producers of the NRT and I am sure they are going to give us the results Yea LOL in our dreams

    Can you please explain "freedom of speech in the right way ?" I seem to be struggling with that concecpt.

    Look forward to your response.

    Mark

  • As you can imagine it would take me all day to write the exact definition of Freedom of speech and so this is the correct definition supposedly in the UK

    .

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freed...

    If you are asking me why I think there are right and wrong ways to say things, I also think that is also self explanatory don’t you?

    We all have our opinions and therefore you have yours and I have mine, we may not always agree but we do have the right to disagree, I disagreed with your wording the same way you can disagree with mine.

    Peace and goodwill to all Men and Women of course :D

  • I was asking for your definition of "Freedom of Speech" - not simply searching on Wikipedia - that's just the hieght of laziness and points to the fact you know nothing about freedom of speech or civil rights.

    I honestly no longer have the energy to converse with you - To be perfectly honest you sound like a complete idiot so lets agree to disagree and also agree to avoid each other moving forward.

  • In all of the posts and replies that I have written on here I have tried to be supportive and polite. I am not the *forum police* as you put it but I do think that you were and are unnecessarily rude.

    I believe that the best way I can support you in future is to totally ignore your posts and let you carry on.

    Dont be so aggresive when replying to me or others it is very unbecoming.

    Good luckand goodbye

  • I agree with lillie.

    In all of the posts and replies that I have written on here I have tried to be supportive and polite. I am not the *forum police* as you put it but I do think that you were and are unnecessarily rude.

    Calling someone lazy and an idiot is the absolute height of rudeness, and is certainly not in anyway supportive to someone in their quit. It sounds to me as if you were having the day from hell yesterday but were too proud to admit it, so you decided to come on here and take it out on everybody else.

    Thanks a bunch.

    Zoe

  • I honestly no longer have the energy to converse with you - To be perfectly honest you sound like a complete idiot so lets agree to disagree and also agree to avoid each other moving forward.

    Out of Order (In my opinion) - insults do not add any weight to your arguement.

    Without sounding all soft and fuzzy - we are all here with a common goal and a common desire - not often that this happens in life - so can we ensure that we respect each other regardless of if you agree with their opinion or not.

    Actually think this was quite a interesting subject - which has been derailed.

  • It still is an interesting subject

  • Out of Order (In my opinion) - insults do not add any weight to your arguement.

    Without sounding all soft and fuzzy - we are all here with a common goal and a common desire - not often that this happens in life - so can we ensure that we respect each other regardless of if you agree with their opinion or not.

    Actually think this was quite a interesting subject - which has been derailed.

    agreed!! my brother acts like this with me which i why i think i no longer feel the need to speak to him!!

    hope all are succeeding in thier quit no matter what your method!

  • We all need something Una - I think I'm the only one using Zyban as far as I can tell. Personally I wanted to get nicotine out of me, but whatever works, any of these thiongs are better than ciggies

    gtat

  • I think we have had a thread 'debating' this before and there is of course nothing wrong with another one.

    What is wrong is insulting people who have been great supporters on this forum.

    I would normally try to not respond but seeing people or who are generally respected here for their help and honesty is quite frankly appaling.

  • Awww man, this was a nice thread. Seems to me like someone needed a cigarette bad. If you don't stop it I'm going to confiscate all yo-yo's, marbles and conkers and send you to bed with no pudding.

    Seriously...hope it was just a case of tetchyitis!

    Lisa X

  • I am interested to know why people feel that they need NRT or Champix to quit smoking ? What is it that people are afraid of ?

    Surely the side effects of Champix are worse than 3 or 4 days of cold turkey, from what I have read the side effects of Champix last a lot longer than 3 or 4 days and in some circumstances are a lot worse.

    Also with NRT surely that means that nicotine is still being put into our bodies? This must just make the process longer and more intense ?

    I appreciate that each person is different but I am struggling to understand the logic behind the different methods. Is anyone aware of the statistics ? Which is the most effective way of quitting?

    Mark

    I have tried using NRT, Cold Turkey and this time around Champix.

    I failed with the former two and am suffering absolutely no side effects with champix and going strong. Also the doctor said the best results by far he had seen were by champix.

    That was my reasoning anyhow

  • I failed with the former two and am suffering absolutely no side effects with champix and going strong. Also the doctor said the best results by far he had seen were by champix.

    Have heard wonderful about the champix, in some ways, wish I had used it to make my quit more bearable!

    Wonder if the doc would see most cold turkeyers?

  • Have heard wonderful about the champix, in some ways, wish I had used it to make my quit more bearable!

    Wonder if the doc would see most cold turkeyers?

    Tis a fair point Chris. As he himself was a smoker for 20 odd years i got the impression he'd seen friends, family and patients try to quit using various methods so was well placed to comment (admittedly i never quizzed too much on Cold Turkey as i knew it hadn't worked for me i the past).

    Also I thought it a bit personal to ask how he gave up. He was also very clear that Champix was just an option and never pressured me to go on it. I understand it costs a lot of money to the NHS to buy.

    As daft as it sounds since i've started taking champix I actually feel alot happier, not depressed, anxious or sickly. I don't know if it's related to being happy about giving up or other things going on in my life. There are so many variables to consider.

    Anyhow my friend as people have said all over here just do what you feel will work for yourself :cool:

You may also like...