Quitting smoking: 10 strategies for overcoming tobacco cravings

Quitting smoking: Tobacco cravings can wear you down when you’re trying to quit. Use these tips to reduce and resist cravings.

Tobacco cravings or smoking desires can be intense for the majority of tobacco users. You can, however, resist these desires.

When you have a strong desire to use tobacco, remember that whether you light a cigarette or take a dip of chewing tobacco, the desire will likely vanish within 5 to 10 minutes. Every time you resist a cigarette need, you get one step closer to quitting smoking for good.

Here are ten strategies to help you fight the impulse to smoke or use tobacco when it strikes.

Quitting smoking

1. Quitting smoking: Experiment with nicotine replacement therapy.

Inquire with your doctor about nicotine replacement therapy. Among the alternatives are:

Prescription nicotine inhaler or nasal spray
Nicotine patches, gum, and lozenges can be purchased without a prescription.
Non-nicotine prescription smoking cessation medications such as bupropion (Wellbutrin SR, Wellbutrin XL, and others) and varenicline
Nicotine gum, lozenges, nasal sprays, and inhalers are examples of short-acting nicotine replacement therapies that can help you overcome intense cravings. These short-acting therapies are usually safe to use in conjunction with long-acting nicotine patches or a non-nicotine stop-smoking medication.

Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) have recently gained popularity as a substitute for smoking regular cigarettes. However, e-cigarettes have not been shown to be either safer or more effective than nicotine replacement therapy in helping individuals quit smoking.

2. Avoid potential triggers

Tobacco cravings are most likely to be stronger in areas where you smoked or chewed tobacco the most, such as at parties or bars, or while you were worried or sipping coffee. Determine your triggers and devise a strategy to avoid or overcome them without using cigarettes.

Don’t put yourself in a position to relapse. If you used to smoke while talking on the phone, for example, keep a pen and paper nearby to keep you occupied with doodling rather than smoking.

3. Delay

If you are about to succumb to your tobacco addiction, convince yourself that you must first wait 10 minutes. Then do anything to divert your attention during that period. Try heading to a public no-smoking area. These basic techniques may be enough to help you overcome your cigarette addiction.

4. Suck on it

To resist a tobacco urge, give your lips something to do. Chew sugar-free gum or hard candy. Alternatively, snack on raw carrots, almonds, or sunflower seeds for something crisp and flavorful.

5. Don’t limit yourself to ‘just one’

To satisfy a tobacco addiction, you may be tempted to smoke just one cigarette. But don’t kid yourself into believing you can stop there. Having only one frequently leads to having two. And you might wind up smoking again.

6. Engage in some physical activity

Physical activity can help you avoid tobacco cravings. Even short spurts of exertion, such as sprinting up and down the stairs several times, can alleviate a cigarette urge. Take a walk or jog outside.

Try squats, deep knee bends, pushups, sprinting in place, or walking up and down a flight of stairs if you’re at home or at work. If you dislike physical activities, try prayer, needlework, woodworking, or journaling. Do duties like cleaning or filing paperwork to divert yourself.

7. Experiment with relaxing techniques.

Smoking could have been a way for you to cope with stress. Fighting a cigarette urge can be stressful in and of itself. Reduce stress by experimenting with relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, muscular relaxation, yoga, visualization, massage, or listening to peaceful music.

Quitting smoking

8. Request reinforcements

Connect with a family member, friend, or member of a support group for assistance in resisting a cigarette addiction. Chat over the phone, go for a stroll, have some laughs, or get together to speak and support one another. Counseling might also be beneficial. A free telephone quit line, 800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669), offers assistance and counseling.

9. Look for help online.

Participate in an online smoking cessation program. Alternatively, read a quitter’s blog and leave positive comments for someone else who is struggling with cigarette cravings. Learn how others have dealt with their tobacco cravings.

10. Remind yourself of the advantages

Write down or state aloud your reasons for quitting smoking and resisting cigarette urges. Among these causes could be:

I’m feeling better now.
Getting Fitter
Protecting your family from secondhand smoking
Spending less money
Remember that doing something to combat the desire to consume tobacco is always preferable to doing nothing. And every time you resist a cigarette need, you get one step closer to quitting smoking.


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