Thursday, July 19, 2007

Good and bad ways to quit smoking

quit smoking
Every year, in many countries all over the world, there are Quit&Win contests. If you are a current daily smoker and at least 18 years of age, you may participate: Just stop smoking for at least four weeks after the quit date, apply for the drawing, and you may win up to ten thousand U.S. dollars.

Yesterday, at PubMed, I have discovered a study about the success rates of the Quit&Win contest: a meek 10.5 percent of participants stay smoke-free for only seven months after the quit date. With special intervention courses for better coping with relapse risks, the success rate has been increased to still meek 13.4 percent.

I am not surprised. When I first heard of such a contest in my country, I said to myself that money prizes cannot be the right way. They give the impression that smoking has a value that must be compensated by money. Wrong motivation, if you ask me.

While such a contest has not proven to be effective in participants, it still may be effective on the community level. But it is not: Fewer than one in five hundred smokers quits because of the contests, according to a Cochrane review.

The reward must come from inside

Now let's compare the Quit&Win success rate of 10.3 percent for seven months with Allen Carr's EasyWay success rate of 51.4 percent for twelve months. This is an in-house statistics, so we may mistrust it. Let's be very skeptic and accept only half of it, even then it is more than double as effective as the contest.

What is the main difference? It is motivation. It is getting rid of the illusion that the cigarette does any good for a smoker. It is coming to the point where no will power at all is necessary any more.

Image credit: International Quit&Win

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