Article

Reduction versus abrupt cessation in smokers who want quit

Primary Care Clinical Sciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, West Midlands, UK, B15 2TT.
Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) (Impact Factor: 6.03). 03/2010; 3(3):CD008033. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD008033.pub2
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

The standard way to quit smoking is to smoke as normal until a quit day at which point the smoker stops using all cigarettes. Most smokers who try to quit end up relapsing, therefore there are a number of people who have tried to quit abruptly in the past without success, and are disillusioned with this approach. An alternative way to give up could be to reduce the amount of cigarettes smoked before going on to quit completely. There is evidence to suggest that reducing smoking before quitting would be popular with smokers. This means that offering this approach to quitting could encourage more smokers to give up, however before offering this approach it is important to ensure it is at least as successful as abrupt quitting. This is because given a choice smokers who would otherwise have quit abruptly may choose to reduce first instead. If reduction isn't as effective, smokers who choose that method will be at a disadvantage. The aim of this review was to compare quit rates in reduction to quit and abrupt quitting interventions to see if reducing to quit is at least as successful as abrupt quitting. Ten studies were found which compared reducing smoking before quitting with abrupt quitting. Pooled results found that neither reducing or abrupt quitting produced superior quit rates. This was true whether nicotine replacement therapy was used as part of the intervention or not, and whether participants were offered self-help materials or behavioural support. These results suggest that smokers should be given a choice of quitting methods, either reducing smoking before quitting or abrupt quitting, however, to inform the development of new interventions more research is needed into which method of reducing smoking is the most effective.

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