Top 5 Reasons Why It’s So Hard to Quit Cold Turkey

by Dr Antonio Howell, MD

in quit smoking

Dr. Howell

Quitting cold turkey is one of the most popular methods to stop smoking today. This strategy involves stopping all at once without the use of medications, nicotine substitutes, or any other formal therapy. Many smokers who tried to quit cold turkey were very successful. But according to experts, it has plenty of downsides too. Here they are:


  1. It makes quitting very tough. If there’s a choice not to experience the debilitating side effects of quitting smoking, smokers would probably go by it. Smoking makes your mind and body dependent to nicotine that a sudden stop in the intake of this “addictive” substance could result to undesirable physical and psychological side effects, also known as withdrawal symptoms. To minimise the debilitating effects of quitting smoking today, you might consider taking medications or undergoing therapy.
  2. It takes more than ‘willpower’ to quit. Experts say that successfully quitting smoking depends on several factors, not just on a person’s willpower. You should consider the level or extent of your nicotine addiction, lifestyle, daily habits and routines, personality, and other factors. Remember that what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for all. If quitting cold turkey didn’t help you, don’t be afraid to try other methods.
  3. Lesser chance of success. Quitting smoking by going cold turkey has, according to studies, lower chance of success as compared to formal therapies. It is because many smokers who use this method experience severe withdrawal symptoms that they end up lighting cigarettes again. Add the fact that without medication or nicotine alternative, smokers are likely to crave for tobacco a lot more.
  4. Physical effects. Quitting cold turkey does have unbearable physical effects. They include fatigue, weight gain, irritability, headache, insomnia, and skin problems.
  5. Mental/psychological effects. The mental effects plus the physical effects make quitting smoking much more terrible for those who choose not to use medications or undergo treatments. To minimise these effects, experts suggest quitting gradually rather than stopping all at once.

Alternatives to Quitting Cold Turkey


There’s nothing wrong with quitting cold turkey. This method is very inexpensive because it doesn’t require the use of any medication, patch, whatsoever. It is always a good idea to try this method first. Who knows? It could make you stop for good. However, if your attempt to quit through this method fails, don’t lose hope. You can try another method. There are plenty of smoking cessation strategies that eliminate the hassles and side effects of quitting cold turkey. Experts recommend using products that do not contain nicotine. You will find medications that help block nicotine receptors in the brain so you don’t experience the craving and other withdrawal symptoms. However, most of these medications can be obtained only through prescriptions. So it is necessary that you contact your doctor. He or she can give you quit smoking advices and recommendations when it comes to the best smoking method that is appropriate for you.



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