'Cold turkey' the best way to quit smoking

Smokers are more likely to remain abstinent if they quit abruptly rather than cutting back gradually, a study carried out in a UK primary care setting shows.

Patients advised to set a two-week abrupt quit date had a 22% abstinence rate at six months compared with 15.5% of those who reduced their smoking gradually for two weeks before trying to quit, the randomised controlled trial in 31 general practices showed.

The study, which involved 697 people who smoked at least 15 cigarettes a day, also found that an abrupt approach was more effective for people who expressed a preference