Managing Your Cravings
Cravings can hit at lots of different times and if you can manage your cravings, you’ll boost your chances of quitting. They happen because your body is missing the nicotine that it’s used to. Cravings are normal and you CAN manage them.
There are two types of craving:
- The steady and constant background cravings for a cigarette. These get less frequent as you get further into your quit journey.
- The sudden bursts where you just feel a need to smoke. These cravings are often triggered by a cue such as having a few drinks, feeling very happy or sad, having an argument, feeling stressed or even having a cup of coffee. These urges to smoke tend to get less frequent over time, but their intensity can remain strong even after many months of quitting.
Here are some tips on how you can manage your cravings:
- Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) can really help. For example, some people use a slow release patch to help reduce the background craving and then a fast acting one for when you feel that sudden need to smoke. You can get more advice on this if you call our team on 0800 122 3788.
- Don’t have cigarettes in the house or anywhere where you can easily get hold of them.
- Once you quit, clean the house, get the air fresheners out and try and get rid of any smell of smoke. Start to enjoy how smoke-free air smells.
- Put reminders around your house of why you want to quit – it might be pictures of your kids, to feel great etc.
- Get yourself a good support structure and use them when you feel the need to smoke. Choose people who will help you stay strong and who will be there when you need them.
- Change your routines. Cravings can be linked to routine, so be prepared to change your routines for a while.
- Do something different as soon as you feel a craving coming on. Try and get out for a walk or do something that will keep you busy for a while until it passes. Remember that cravings pass quickly.
- Keep your hands and your mouth busy. If you like holding a cigarette, there are handheld products like the inhalator that you can use. Likewise, you may find that chewing gum helps to keep your mouth busy.
- Celebrate every craving that you resist. Each one is another step closer to you being and staying a non-smoker and to being healthier.
- Reward yourself - save your money that you would have used for smoking and treat yourself to something nice. Remember that this isn’t easy and you deserve a treat!