For many people, stepping away from the bad habit of smoking becomes one of the hardest struggles of their lives. Addiction is difficult to work through, and with the wide range of popularity with cigarettes, triggers such as smell or taste create that want to light a smoke.
To make matters worse, friends will often offer you a cigarette knowing you’re a smoker.
Stop right there, pal.
You’ve taken the steps and have pushed through the fight to stop smoking. You did what many have struggled with and still struggle with. With these tips, we hope you can push through your cravings and remain tobacco-free.
As much as every smoker would like to say it isn’t a problem, nicotine is a highly addictive chemical that you may not be able to simply quit.
Nicotine reacts with the body in a variety of different ways that make the user crave more. Nicotine starts by releasing dopamine in the brain, which gives you relaxed, feel-good feelings. This is why it’s common for smokers to light up when they are stressed. It also has a tendency to relieve muscle tension, which can give your body a physical stress release, too.
Almost as important as the nicotine itself, smoking acts on a theory known as reinforcement. Your body learns that every time you smoke a cigarette, you feel more calmed and relaxed. Since your body enjoys the calm feeling, as you begin to get stressed over any situation, you will suddenly crave a cigarette.
Reinforcement also plays on the small actions, such as lifting your hand to your mouth, or something being in your mouth (also known as oral fixation). For some users, they have noticed an instant release of stress as they start to pull a cigarette from a pack. This is the tell-tale sign that your body is anticipating the chemical changes that cigarette is about to bring.
Quitting is Hard
The fact that you have quit smoking in the first place is a major accomplishment you should be proud of. Since nicotine withdrawals affect people physically and mentally, many people refuse to quit or quickly fall back into the bad habit.
When quitting any addictive substance, you should consider the chemical, physical, and social actions associated with it.
Nicotine is the chemical addiction, which your body continues to crave simply because it makes you “feel good” when taken.
The physical addictions include the actual feeling of holding a cigarette, placing it to your lips, and inhaling. These actions become signs to your body that you’ll be receiving nicotine. The smell of tobacco often creates a craving, as does seeing someone else smoke.
The social addictions involve your personal activities. Some people smoke with colleagues at work, others with friends or family. Being around these people is going to be rough once you quit.
Completely ignoring the fact that you want a cigarette may not be enough. Understanding which of these is bothering you will let you take action in a way that relieves your cravings.
Relieve the Chemical Fix
Nicotine has a tendency to play with your mind, causing a simple craving to make you irritable, depressed, or a ball of mixed emotions. Your body’s not happy you’ve cut nicotine, but you should be.
Stopping nicotine cold-turkey isn’t an option for many smokers, and the need to wean off the addiction is important to pay attention to.
There are 8-12 milligrams of nicotine in each cigarette. To slowly move away from the addictive substance, consider using a nicotine patch just below your personal nicotine use. Over time, slowly reduce the nicotine until you find you no longer need it to keep withdrawal symptoms at bay.
Smoking cravings often happen suddenly and when you least expect it. Nicotine gum is a great pocket-sized option to relive your nicotine cravings on the fly and when it matters. When you feel your cravings start to push you outside your comfort zone, just pop a piece of gum and get back to work.
Vapes and disposable e-cigarettes can also be used to relieve nicotine cravings, as the juices and refills can be bought in various nicotine levels to slowly reduce overall nicotine intake over time that way. This form of relief also plays on the physical and social forms of addiction, making it a great option if you’re struggling.
It should be noted that nicotine replacements, such as patches and gum, should only be used to suppress cravings and not used to necessarily add nicotine to your life. Your goal should always be reducing the nicotine level you take in every day.
Relieve the Physical Fix
One of the hardest addictions to stray away from is the physical action of smoking. As you smoke, your body begins to assimilate actions to feelings, meaning when you put your hand to your mouth, your body expects nicotine.
For some people, the craving to hold a cigarette or put it to their mouth becomes too much, and they may begin to get a bit jittery.
Finding something to do with your hands can help relieve this stress for some people. This could be a small hobby or something you carry in your pocket such as a stress ball to help you take the edge away.
For others, the movement from hand to mouth needs to be filled, and snacking becomes a great substitute. You’ll see many people who quit smoking start eating small treats such as sunflower seeds, trail mix, or candy. You should always consider the healthier option to avoid unhealthy eating as your new bad habit.
Physical relief is where the power of nicotine-free smoking alternatives take control. To relive the physical addiction, consider using herbal cigarettes or nicotine-free vapes.
Herbal cigarettes can be found in a wide range of flavors, each focused on giving you a natural flavor without the nicotine. They look and feel like a tobacco cigarette, and will have less of a bad odor or taste.
Oklahoma Smokes’ CBD cigarettes work particularly well because of the relaxation that CBD hemp flower brings. Our smokes help you kick the addiction with a tobacco-free, nicotine-free, and additive-free solution that helps you smoke without actually smoking.
Vapes have also grown in popularity as they produce a vaporized liquid that is less likely to damage your throat and lungs, and the odors are less likely to stick to clothes or furniture. Vapes can be found in a wide range of flavors, from the savory to the extremely fruity.
While the chemical and physical addictions are difficult, they are often easier to walk away from than the social addictions. We all want to fit in, and smoking is no different. From the workplace to groups of friends, a common trend is “stepping out for a smoke” as a group.
If you’ve smoked for a while, this workplace group became a group of friends, and you may be feeling left out since you quit. While you could always step out when they do, you’d find yourself in a ball of seeing and smelling people smoke, which isn’t easy by itself, but becomes more difficult as your friends offer you a smoke.
Before anything else, it’s important to be open and honest with your friends. A simple “hey guys, I think I’m going to reduce my intake and get healthier” can make a big difference. If someone doesn’t know you’re trying to quit, they may do things that would otherwise seem inconsiderate, such as simply handing you a cigarette thinking you’ve left your pack at home.
It’s often important to find someone that will be your “quitting buddy” or “battle buddy.” They may also be quitting, or maybe they’re not -- the important thing is they will encourage or stop you from lighting another cigarette. There will be days when someone does offer you a smoke, and you’ll consider taking it, and these buddies can step in and say “What are you doing? You don’t smoke anymore.”
Healthier alternatives to cigarettes such as vapes and herbal cigarettes allow you to relieve your social needs while staying away from nicotine. Vapes have become widely accepted in many smoke break areas, with the occasional laugh that you may be smoking an extremely fruity flavor.
Tobacco-free alternative cigarettes such as our very own hemp smokes will allow you to light a cigarette, and maintain the social habits for the better without feeling like you’re out of place. It still feels and looks like a cigarette without the actual junk of a cigarette.
Fight the Craving
If you miss smoking, it means you had once been a smoker and have since quit. Stepping away from such a popularized addictive substance is difficult, but you did it!
It’s acceptable to feel cravings, but it's not so acceptable to return to a substance which plays such a negative role in the lives of both you and your family.
Alternatives to addictions allow you to work your way towards success, while easing some of the side effects and cravings.
Oklahoma Smokes can help replace your cigarettes with a nicotine-free, tobacco-free alternative that feels and smokes like a regular cigarette, without the addictive chemicals -- grab a pack today and enjoy the moment in a whole new way.