Want to kick the butt? Just stop it now

London, March 15 (IANS) If your spouse wants you to quit smoking, do it quickly and impress her as abruptly kicking the butt is more likely to lead to lasting abstinence compared to refraining from it gradually, finds new research.

However, most people try to quit smoking by gradually reducing the amount they smoke before giving up completely. Such people are less likely to quit than those who choose to renounce all in one go, experts revealed.

The results showed that people who stopped smoking abruptly were 25 percent more likely to quit.

The difference in quit attempts seemed to arise because people struggled to cut down.

“It provided them with an extra thing to do, which may have put them off quitting altogether. If people actually made a quit attempt then the success rate was equal across groups,’ said lead researcher Nicola Lindson-Hawley from University of Oxford.

For the study, published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, the researchers recruited 697 smokers who had chosen to stop smoking. They were split into two groups.

One group — the “abrupt cessation” group — set a quit day and stopped all smoking on that day.

The second group — the “gradual cessation” group — set a quit day but gradually reduced their tobacco use in the two weeks leading up to that date.

Once the day of quitting passed, the participants were assessed weekly for the next four weeks, and after six months.

The researchers measured the amount of carbon monoxide they were breathing out — an objective way to check whether people were actually sticking to their quit plan.

At four weeks, 39 percent of the “gradual cessation” group had kept off tobacco compared to 49 percent of the “abrupt cessation” group — meaning that the abrupt group was 25 percent more likely to quit.

For people who cannot imagine being able to stop completely, it is much better to attempt to cut down their smoking than do nothing at all. Such people should be greatly supported for the gradual cessation to increase their chances of succeeding, the researchers suggested.

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