Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Is it safe to quit cigarettes cold turkey?"

ZocdocAnswersIs it safe to quit cigarettes cold turkey?


Can I just quit smoking immediately? Should I go slow and just cut back? Any health risks to quitting cold turkey?


There are no health risks to quitting smoking, no matter how fast you decide to do it. The only health risk you have is continuing to smoke which can cause all the health problems I'm sure you've been told about before. With that said, there have been studies to suggest that quitting cold turkey does not result in success very often. Thus, while there are not particular health risks to doing so, statistically you are not likely to succeed in this way. There are people that have done it. We now know that the most important component to any smoking cessation plan is the quitters attitude towards quitting. In order for you to be successful, you have to really want to quit. Otherwise, you will not succeed. Once you are sure that you do want to quit, then you should schedule an appointment to see your primary care physician. He or she will review with you the various different options available to help you quit. These will include nicotine supplements in the form of patches, gum, and lozenges. Other medications such as buproprion or newer medications may be appropriate for you as well. Only your doctor will be able to know which method is best for you.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.