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Want to quit smoking? Don't plan ahead

Smokers who decide to quit immediately, without making plans about how or when, are more likely to succeed, researchers find.
/ Source: Reuters

If you really want to give up smoking then do it.

Research by British scientists shows that smokers who decide to quit immediately, without making plans about how or when, are more likely to succeed.

"Contrary to what experts had previously believed the idea that you have to plan your quit attempts ahead of time isn't necessarily true," said Robert West, a professor of psychology at University College London.

West and his colleague Taj Sohal questioned 1,900 current and ex-smokers in England about their efforts to kick the habit. They discovered that nearly half of all attempts to quit were spontaneous.

Smokers who decided and stopped immediately were also 50 to 60 percent more likely to succeed.

West, who reported the research in the British Medical Journal on Friday, said the findings do not imply that planned attempts to quit are counterproductive.

But the results suggest the state of mind and motivation of the smoker is important for how successful the attempt to quit will be.

West urged smokers who have not managed to quit to keep trying.

"The number of times you have tried to quit in the past isn't related to how likely you are to succeed in the future. It's another roll of the dice," he added.