Quitting smoking can be difficult. The more you smoke, says the Mayo Clinic, the more nicotine your body needs to feel good.
“Nicotine is the chemical in tobacco that makes it difficult to quit,” the clinic explains. “Nicotine produces pleasant effects in your brain, but these effects are temporary. So you take another cigarette.
The clinic offers 10 things you can do to help fight cravings and kick the habit:
- Avoid triggers. Identify situations that trigger you, such as hanging out with friends at a party, and put a plan in place to overcome the situation without smoking.
- Don’t have “only one”. You might be tempted to have just one cigarette, but more often than not, one leads to another.
- Chew it. Keep your mouth busy: chew gum or suck on a hard candy, or snack on something crunchy.
- Delay and distract. Do you feel that you are going to give in to a craving? Wait 10 more minutes and distract yourself during this time to fend off the urge.
- To move. Physical activity can help distract you from cravings and reduce their intensity. Go for a walk or do some household chores.
- Practice relaxation techniques. Have cigarettes been your go-to for stress relief? Try a relaxation technique like deep breathing exercises, muscle relaxation, or yoga.
- Ask your healthcare provider about nicotine replacement therapy. Options include prescription nicotine in a nasal spray or inhaler; over-the-counter nicotine patches, gum and lozenges; or prescription non-nicotine quit smoking medications.
- Call for help. Spending time with family, friends, or a member of a support group can help you resist cravings. Or, you can take advantage of a free quit smoking hotline, (800) QUIT-NOW, which offers support and advice.
- Go online. Learn from how others have dealt with their cravings.
- Remember the benefits. Write down or say out loud the reasons why you want to quit. These can include feeling better, being healthier, and saving money. You can do it!