Quitting smoking “cold turkey” means that a smoker will simply just stop smoking using no nicotine replacement products and not weaning themselves from smoking. A majority of smokers can successfully stop smoking by “going cold turkey” but for many this is a very hard thing to do.
Just suddenly stopping smoking and doing it successfully is often a measure of the level of addiction and also the smokers state of mind. For heavier smokers quitting cold turkey may not be possible as the withdrawals will be too hard to deal with. Heavy smokers often have chronic lung irritation or diseases such as emphysema or chronic bronchitis. Whilst people in such positions should of course quit smoking immediately, there can be undesirable results.
A heavy smoker probably already as a chronic cough. Quitting smoking can result in the lungs producing less or more mucous than usual, resulting in irritation of the lungs. The heavy smoker will cough out of habit, whether they still need to or not. Heavy smokers quitting cold turkey are advised to do so with the supervision of a physician, who may recommend antibiotics to combat the possibility of lung or respiratory tract infections
If quitting cold turkey, it sis desirable to have a plan of action in place to deal with the desire to smoke that IS going to be there, when the smoker is struck by nicotine withdrawal, anger, boredom, stress, after eating, after drinking alcohol…. The smoker will have many triggers than need to be overcome.. This is part of behavior modification and is discussed further in its own article in this section of our site.
We have all heard of someone who was a pack a day man/woman who quit overnight and never smoked again, but more often smokers cut down gradually, then stop.(Editor’s note. I never smoked more than 10 cigarettes in a day but still could not quite cold turkey. I went down to 5 to 3, to 2 a day…. I was on 1 a day for two years before I finally quite for good. Because I was a 1 a day smoker, I still considered myself mentally to be a smoker so when I went out, if I felt liking lashing out and having a few….. I was not smoking again, I was just smoking still.)
Stopping smoking by going cold turkey may be a popular method but is not possible for everyone. Further help and support may be needed and should be asked for.