Avoiding smoking triggers will help reduce the urge to smoke, but you can’t avoid cravings entirely. But cigarette cravings don’t last long, so if you’re tempted to light up, remember that the craving will pass and try to wait it out. It also helps to be prepared in advance. Having a plan to cope with cravings will help keep you from giving in.
- Distract yourself. Do the dishes, turn on the TV, take a shower, or call a friend. The activity doesn’t matter as long as it gets your mind off of smoking.
- Remind yourself why you quit. Focus on your reasons for quitting, including the health benefits, improved appearance, money you’re saving, and enhanced self-esteem.
- Get out of a tempting situation. Where you are or what you’re doing may be triggering the craving. If so, a change of scenery can make all the difference.
- Reward yourself. Reinforce your victories. Whenever you triumph over a craving, give yourself a reward to keep yourself motivated.
Coping with Cigarette Cravings in the Moment
|Find an oral substitute||Keep other things around to pop in your mouth when cravings hit. Good choices include mints, hard candy, carrot or celery sticks, gum, and sunflower seeds.|
|Keep your mind busy||Read a book or magazine, listen to some music you love, do a crossword or Sudoku puzzle, or play an online game.|
|Keep your hands busy||Squeeze balls, pencils, or paper clips are good substitutes to satisfy that need for tactile stimulation.|
|Brush your teeth||The just-brushed, clean feeling can help get rid of cigarette cravings.|
|Drink water||Slowly drink a large, cold glass of water. Not only will it help the craving pass, but staying hydrated helps minimize the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal.|
|Light something else||Instead of lighting a cigarette, light a candle or some incense.|
|Get active||Go for a walk, do some jumping jacks or pushups, try some yoga stretches, or run around the block.|
|Try to relax||Do something that calms you down, such as taking a warm bath, meditating, reading a book, or practicing deep breathing exercises.|