'There are more options' - medical specialist advises against cold turkey method for those trying to quit smoking

The long-heralded cold turkey method of giving up smoking may not be as good as once believed, with less than 10 per cent of those managing to stay smoke free after quitting.

Around half of those who quit - or attempt to quit - smoking attempt to do so cold turkey, but only three to five per cent of those are successful, says medical specialist Hayden McRobbie.

Appearing on TVNZ 1's Breakfast this morning, Mr McRobbie spoke about the difficulties in going cold turkey, and although it does work for some smokers, better and more reliable options are there.

"Most people who try in that way don't succeed long term," he said.

"If you want my advice, the best way to quit smoking is to get some support.

"There are more options these days, but quitting can still be as hard today as it was 20 years ago."

Asked about the prospect of a smoke free New Zealand, Mr McRobbie said that the proposed target of 2025 would be a big ask.

"I think 2025 is going to be a big challenge, it's not far away of course.

"We can do better, I think we can provide better help for people."

Meanwhile, the escalating cost of smoking is proving to be the driving factor behind many deciding to give up cigarettes once and for all.

"When the price goes up and you're addicted to something, the addiction is often prioritised."

"Many of my patients are saying 'I have to quit because of the price'. It is a real driver, and I think we need to be there to support them."

Less than 10 per cent of those who try cold turkey are successful. Source: Breakfast

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