Quit Smoking Cold Turkey – The Complete Guide

Though this may be the hardest route to take , many smokers prefer the cold-turkey strategy to quit smoking.

Quitting cold turkey means giving up the habit of  smoking all at once, without the aid of any NRT or drugs.

It's about throwing away your lighter and cigarettes and turning your back on smoking like a bad relationship gone wrong. Vowing never to ever puff on another stick ever again.

A good percentage of ex-smokers have successfully quit this way. You’ll have a higher chance to succeed if you smoke fewer than 10 cigarettes a day and take the following steps to prepare.

Because you won’t have the aids of NRT, it’s particularly important that you are mentally and physically prepared.

Set the quit date


Pick a date two to four weeks in the future when you plan on quitting. Pick a quiet time of year when you have less on your calendar, or just pick your birthday month just like you're doing  a New Year's resolution. Connect the quit date with a memorable event in your life that reminds you of  personal success and will always remind you of your anniversary quit year.

Stress can be a big trigger for smokers, making you light up and smoke just like as natural response, so don’t try to quit around the time you have final exams, a big project due at work, or have other major stress-inducing events in your life. This will make the journey harder and more miserable.

Alternatively, if you’re a social smoker, try to avoid a date around any festivities, like a wedding or class reunion.

Make a list of reasons for quitting


Maybe you want to improve your health, save money, always said you would quit before a big birthday, or all the above. These are just a few of the things that are important to you. The list may go on and on.

Write down the list and keep it in your wallet or store it on your cell phone. Some post it on their bathroom wall, bedroom or any room in the house that you usually smoke in. A picture or your kids or family members to reference your reason is a good idea.   Then, when a strong craving hits down the line, you can refer back to it to help find the strength to stay strong.

Know your habits

Think about the times you are most likely to smoke: is it with your morning cup of coffee, after dinner, out with friends, and/or on your way home from work?

Those times when you habitually reach for a cigarette are likely to be when your cravings are the strongest. Plan ahead and brainstorm a few alternate activities or distractions.

For example, get your coffee at a non-smoking cafe, take a walk after dinner, go to see a movie instead of hitting the bar, or take public transportation or carpool to commute for a while. The more you shake up your regular habits the more you will distract yourself from the desire to smoke.

Anticipate cravings

Nicotine as we have discussed before is on par with cocaine and heroin, and cravings are going to come. Yes they are.

On the plus side, they generally last no more than five to 10 minutes tops. Do what you can to distract yourself until the cravings passes, checkout what your friends are up to on Facebook, chew a piece of gum, or loot to your heart's content in Clash of Clans.

Adopt a new hobby, ride a bike, mow the lawn, make a bird house, or scrub the floor squeaky clean. The more physical the activity, the better it will flush the nicotine out of your system.

You want to be the next Lebron James, or be the next YouTube sensation?.. well, this is the time.

Know that the signs of withdrawal are temporary: Quitting cold turkey means you will experience the symptoms of withdrawal more intensely than if you used NRT products.

Fortunately, most withdrawal symptoms peak two to three days after your last cigarette and subside gradually after that. The most common withdrawal symptoms are the following.

  • Intense craving for nicotine
  • Irritability, anxiety, restlessness, or boredom
  • Depression
  • Trouble sleeping, including bad dreams and nightmares
  • Drowsiness
  • Feeling tense, restless, or frustrated
  • Headaches
  • Increased appetite and weight gain
  • Problems concentrating
  • Dizziness
  • Slower heart rate
  • Constipation or gas
  • Cough, dry mouth, sore throat, and nasal drip

Get your friends and family on board

Chances are, your close friends and family are thrilled that you’re quitting. Or, a family member may also be quitting as well at the same time as you. Update them on your progress by posting powerful and positive quotes on you Instagram account. Keep a total of the money you've saved so far on the endeavor and use the money for something better or even donate it to charity.

These small taps on the back goes a long way. And knowing your folks are cheering for you and will also be disappointed when you fail is a very strong motivation.

Ask them to help distract you from cravings by being available during your trigger moments for quick pep talks; plan activities in smoke-free places like the mall, movie theater and many restaurants, and to be understanding if you experience any irritability.

Join a support group

Join Quit Smoking Support Group

You may find it easier to quit if you can share your frustrations and success with people who are also in the process of quitting.

You do not expect the same reaction from a non-smoker when you say, I've just quit. The will never understand the symptoms and hardships you are experiencing right now. A genuine and sincere response will be felt from those who are going through the same experience.

Hope you find this guide useful if you plan to go on quitting using the cold turkey method. Ultimately, you will be the most important person that will benefit from this change.