Cravings are caused by your addiction to nicotine. When nicotine levels drop, your body will crave it to maintain a constant level.
While cravings can feel quite intense at times, they do not last a long time, usually no more than 20 seconds to 2 minutes. The trick is to distract yourself by doing something else until the craving passes. By not paying attention to it, it won’t affect you as much.
The follow are simple but effective ways to deal with cravings:
- Practice the 4 Ds to manage cravings: Delay smoking, Deep breathing, Distract yourself. Drink a glass of water (some people find using a large straw with the same diameter as a cigarette helpful).
- Call a friend, work on a hobby.
- Light incense or a candle instead of a cigarette.
- Take some deep breaths. Try breathing through your nose and blowing out slowly through your mouth. Repeat 10 times.
- Remind yourself that the cravings will pass.
- Change your surroundings; get some exercise or go on a walk.
- Sit down and relax, read a book, take a nap or a shower/bath.
- Keep oral substitutes handy: try carrots, pickles, sunflower seeds, fresh fruit, celery, raisins, hard candy, sugar-free gum or toothpicks.
- Review your reasons for quitting.
- Avoid your smoking triggers – these are situations/activities that you normally associate with smoking.
- Use a Nicotine Replacement Therapy. These have been found to be very effective.
- Brush your teeth often.
- Spend time with your kids.
- Exercise/go on a walk.
And don’t forget, you can always call the Smokers’ Helpline and chat with a smoking cessation counsellor: 1-800-363-5864