How to stop smoking cravings
Essential advice on how to resist cigarette cravings
If you are trying to give up smoking how do stop those smoking cravings? Here are some essential tips on how to resist your cravings for cigarettes.
Consider using a nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)
The most common way of managing the nicotine cravings is to opt for an NRT, which will supply the body with nicotine in smaller and gradually reducing doses than the body is used to getting from cigarettes. It can be used in different forms: chewing gum, patches, inhalers, tablets or lozenges, or nasal sprays. All of these are available over the counter at pharmacies and also in some supermarkets.
Find a new behavior
Smoking involves having something to do with your hands and mouth. In the same way as you might feel uncomfortable without a drink in your hand in a pub, the same applies to a smoker without a cigarette. So, find something else to do — such as chewing gum, drinking more water or hot drinks, sucking on sweets, or even using a plastic cigarette (naff I know) — just so that you’ll be doing something other than smoking.
Avoid smoking triggers
Some situations may go hand-in-hand with your smoking. For example, many people will always have a cigarette while drinking — and the same can apply to a cup of tea or coffee during a break at work. By stopping these actions, if only for a while, you could reduce your desire to smoke. Feeling low or stressed can trigger the need to seek solace in a drink and a cigarette, so try looking for other coping mechanisms instead.
Rather than reaching for a cigarette when you feel stressed, take yourself away from the situation and take your mind off the need for a cigarette. Take a break — for example, go for a short walk or make it a long lunch break — and go and spoil yourself using the money you’ve saved from not smoking. Anything that will boost your self-esteem or make you relax is a good idea — for example, get a new haircut or book yourself a massage.
Ask your doctor for a prescription
Your doctor may prescribe Zyban tablets for you, which aim to help break the nicotine addiction by suppressing the craving, rather than by supplying the body with smaller doses of nicotine. Research has shown that when used together with regular counselling, Zyban tablets can double a smoker’s chances of quitting successfully. Ask your doctor about when you should start and finish a program of tablets.
If the craving for a cigarette is getting to you, why not get up and help yourself rather than just waiting for the craving to subside? Taking some exercise will lead to the release of endorphins — the body’s natural feel-good hormones — which can help to relieve anxiety and stress, and provide you with a feeling of well-being. These are just the things that you may have felt cigarettes did for you!
Helplines and counselling
If your own best efforts to curb the cravings are not enough, you could turn to organizations which can offer advice and support to help you give up smoking. These organizations are usually able to offer booklets, advice, personal support, and top quitting tips. Your doctor may be able to refer you to free smoking cessation sessions, which can consist of either one-to-one counselling or group sessions.
Quitting for good …
The early days of quitting are particularly tough. Although it can feel like you’re the only one having to battle with temptation, everyone goes through a difficult patch initially. By keeping positive, focusing on the reasons why you’re doing it and changing your habits — and even planning to quit at the same time as a friend — you will be able to succeed.
Need some motivation to quit? Check out these 10 reasons to stop smoking.