Quitting smoking cold turkey is actually one of the best ways to begin your journey into stopping smoking. I call it a journey because most of the time people who try to quit smoking do not succeed on the first or even second attempt, whether they use medication to stop or not.
But to put this into perspective, how many people do you know who have never exercised or worked out went to the gym for the first or second time and immediately reported it as being the most fun, effortless and freeing experience of their lives? Most of the time you feel like you can’t do it, or you don’t know what you’re doing, or it feels weird and awkward. All normal!
The good thing about stopping smoking cold turkey is that it helps you to feel your body and to understand what it will actually be like once you completely eliminate your addiction to nicotine. Believe it or not, once you quit smoking, the level of nicotine in your body is absolute zero in less than 72 hours, which means that you will have physically beaten your addiction to cigarette smoking by that point. Then it’s just a matter of beating withdrawals and the psychological addiction.
The next obstacle, the psychological conditioning and perceived emotional dependence on cigarettes which are worsened by the gradual physical withdrawals, all go away after 21 days. So if you can make it 21 days, you probably aren’t addicted to cigarettes any more at all.
The first time I ever quit smoking I stopped for 45 days straight. Then I turned 21 and celebrated my birthday in Las Vegas, so you can kind of imagine how everything went after that. I was drinking and smoking again. But it didn’t last forever, and I don’t smoke any more :).
Quitting Cold Turkey is Difficult, but Possible
Quitting smoking cold turkey may not be the best idea if you’re currently smoking one or two packs a day. You may actually want to taper your usage down ever so slightly and start going a day or two without a cigarette to test the waters. This gradual reduction in nicotine intake will make the withdrawals much less severe. But if you smoke less than a half a pack a day, you are the perfect candidate for the cold turkey quit smoking method.
One of the things that makes quitting smoking so difficult is the prevalence of cigarettes all around you. In a state where smoking is frowned upon socially, or there have been laws enacted which prevent the easy cigarette at the bar or restaurant, you’ll find people quit much more quickly and easily.
By the end of 2009 statewide laws in 22 US states prohibited smoking in workplaces restaurants or bars. Nationally over 75% of households have reported that smoking was not allowed inside the home or indoors.
The high cost of smoking from a public policy standpoint
In Texas tobacco-related disease cost the state over $12 billion in medical costs and loss and worker productivity in 2003.
Increasing the price of tobacco has been found to be effective at reducing the prevalence of conception of smoking cigarettes. Additionally adding taxes to cigarettes has made nicotine addiction even less affordable in some states ranging from three dollars per pack in Rhode Island to a mere seven cents per pack in South Carolina.
One of the absolute worst states in America with the highest smoking rates as Kentucky, were over a quarter of a deal population our current cigarette smokers.
Even 15% of Kentucky’s youth in their early teens or cigarette smokers. Kentucky has no statewide smoke-free laws that protect against exposure to secondhand smoke in public places like workplaces, restaurants and bars.
The state with the worst smoking record is West Virginia with over 26% of its adult population smoking cigarettes on a regular basis.
US States with the Worst Smoking Rates
Smoking is most prevalent in states like Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, Ohio, Mississippi, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Nevada. Not surprisingly these are the states with few to no smoking bans or anti-smoking laws to protect the general populace.
Often times the state government will actually preempt and prevent local governments and their attempts to regulate smoking or even ban smoking at the local level. This goes to show that the shadowy hands of big tobacco are still at work behind-the-scenes, and with heavy lobbying efforts it makes quitting smoking that much harder for people trying to successfully kick the habit.
The Center for disease control has found that while many smokers try to quit every year, and without assistance most will relapse. On the bright side, the people who continue to try to quit increase their odds of successfully quitting each time that they quit, whether or not they relapse. And most people report that their final successful attempt at quitting smoking is usually unassisted, hence (insert turkey sound here) freeom from nicotine addiction is just ready to be gobbled up as long as you never quit trying to stop smoking!