Cutting back, also known as tapering or fading, usually involves smoking fewer cigarettes per day. Some people believe that it can make their withdrawal symptoms less severe when they quit. Other people find that it just prolongs the process of withdrawal. One method is to try to delay and avoid a cigarette for a set amount of time (like 10 or 15 minutes) whenever you get a craving. Another technique is to cut out smoking at some times you normally smoke, such as when you’re driving in the car or taking a break at work.
It’s important to know that none of the these methods have been shown to increase your likelihood of being successful at quitting as opposed to just cutting back to zero. At QuitNet, our coaches generally don’t recommend fading or tapering as a strategy.
Medical review: Nathan Cobb, MD, November 6, 2017