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Trying To Quit Smoking? A New Study Suggests Replacing Cigarettes with This

Written by Johnnie Duffy

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Lifestyle Motivation

Go gentle: A doctor team found that if you smoke a certain number of cigarettes per day, quitting may call for some steps for good measure.

Whether you’ve been a “social” smoker who only lights up over drinks with friends or you’re known to light a cigarette off the last one, there’s no denying we all crave moments to take a literal breather from stress. According to 2023 data from the American Psychological Institute, 62% of adults don’t talk about stress because they don’t want to be a burden.

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As comforting—and convenient—as having a drink, a cup of coffee, or a cigarette might be, a new study says these tried-and-true ways to “deal” can all play together into an unhealthy cycle.

A May 2024 longitudinal study published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention illustrates this complexity. Medical researchers at a hospital and university in Tunisia teamed up to follow 450 smokers over the course of five years, with an average age of 46. The median daily cigarette consumption among participants was 20 each day, though the study notes “the maximum consumption … was 80 cigarettes per day. Indeed, the majority of our consultants (81.9%) consumed more than 20 cigarettes per day.” Patients were all characterized as being highly motivated to quit the habit.

About 61% of participants reported that they had made one or more previous attempts to quit smoking, with more than 72% of those attempts being successful at least once. More than 27% of participants who quit smoking but eventually began again reported stress as the primary reason.


The researchers also observed a few other patterns among participants:

  • 75% smoked freely in their home
  • 12.7% had no daily physical activity, while about 50% engaged in activity of 30 to 60 minutes each day
  • Coffee consumption among participants ranged from zero to 10 cups a day, with a median consumption of about two cups daily
  • 17.6% of patients also regularly consumed alcohol

The researchers found a “statistically significant” connection between people who drink alcohol and coffee, and people who have the greatest difficulty quitting smoking. According to the study, people who drink coffee are about 20% less likely to quit smoking, and people who drink alcohol are almost 75% less likely to drop their cigarette habit.

On the other hand, the likelihood of quitting was 83% higher for participants who’d received at least three anti-smoking consultations, and 53% higher for participants who opted for nicotine replacement therapy.

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This study highlights how these coping mechanisms, without healthy, therapeutic support to quit, can collectively hinder efforts to adopt a healthier life. The good news is the strong evidence here that having clear mechanisms in place to help faze out cigarettes can significantly boost the chances of quitting successfully.

So with stress and smoking cessation, reaching out for support isn’t a sign of weakness but a courageous step toward a healthier life. Maybe that’s one reason developing strong relationships is one of the greatest predictors of longevity.

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