Harvard Mental Health Letter

Ask the doctor: Is it better to stop smoking abruptly or gradually?

Q. I've tried to quit smoking three times. A friend suggested that instead of giving cigarettes up all at once that I try to kick the habit gradually. Which method is best?

A. The traditional view has been that establishing a "quit day" to stop smoking helps increase the chance that people will actually be able to kick the habit. But a review by the international Cochrane Collaboration concluded that a more gradual approach is just as effective and may be more appealing to smokers who want to quit.

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