Quitting cigarettes is tough. Withdrawal symptoms like headaches, increased appetite, anxiety, and insomnia can really make it a challenge to toss the tobacco.
The tricky thing about nicotine is that since it’s addictive, you’re going to want to tear open a new pack of cigs many times during the quitting process. These cravings are what can cause you to relapse, falling back into this habit that you’ve worked so hard to break.
While nothing will prevent those cravings during the weeks following your final puff, there are loads of non-nicotine alternatives that can satiate your hunger without pulling you back. Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to control your nicotine cravings.
1. Keep Your Mouth Busy
A great way to help satisfy cravings while also physically making it impossible to smoke is by finding other ways to occupy your mouth. Try chewing some gum, eating carrot sticks, or sucking on some hard candy.
Anything that’s chewy or satisfying will work best. It can help give you something to do in lieu of taking a puff, and it might help pass enough time so that your cravings subside.
2. Try Nicotine Replacement Therapy
Going cold turkey might be an appealing method to quitting. This means you quit smoking abruptly with no treatment or support from replacement medications. The thing is, only about three to five out of every 100 people will successfully last more than six months by doing it this way.
Don’t feel like you need to do this on just willpower alone -- there is no shame in getting some reinforcement. You can talk with your doctor about using prescription or over the counter nicotine patches, gums, or lozenges to help reduce cravings and keep you on the right path.
You can also try using nicotine-free CBD smokes -- the ones we’ve got right here at Oklahoma Smokes. They’re a great way to satisfy your oral fixation while using patches, gums, and other nicotine weaning tools. Early research shows that hemp flower may reduce nicotine cravings, so you can keep the ritual while kicking the habit.
3. Avoid Triggers
Your cravings are really going to flare up when you put yourself in situations that have a strong association with smoking. These are things like going to bars, having a coffee, or talking on the phone. Try avoiding these situations as much as possible. But when they inevitably arise, try doing something different to keep your mind off the cravings, such as going for a walk.
You don’t need to avoid your triggers forever. In fact, the goal is that you can engage in these activities without ever even thinking about a cigarette. However, it’s important to be cognizant until you’ve broken that association, as these might be powerful enough to bring you back down.
4. Remind Yourself It’s Only Temporary
Especially during the first week or two, your cravings might be super strong. A lot of people will choose to just have one drag during this time, but you need to commit to never even holding a cigarette in your hands.
The most important thing to do is remind yourself that your cravings are only temporary. The urge to have a puff will be enticing, but it will subside after just about 3 to 5 minutes. And the number of times you feel the urge will steadily decrease after just the first week.
Soon enough, you’ll wonder why you ever wanted a cigarette in the first place.
5. Work Out
Since your cravings only last a few minutes, doing anything to distract yourself for that period of time is essential. And one of the best ways you can do this is by exercising. Even short bursts of physical activity will be enough to distract you from the urge.
If you can, go for a short walk around the block, throw the frisbee around with your dog in the backyard, or take a quick jog down the street. If you’re stuck at work, walk up and down the stairs, do some squats or push-ups at your cubicle -- anything.
This can also help with an adverse side effect that often comes with quitting, which is an increased appetite. Nicotine affects the way your brain produces dopamine and serotonin, which controls feelings of hunger. Many people who quit smoking experience increased appetite, which often leads to some added bodyweight during the quitting phase. So, exercise may be able to help shed a few of those pounds.
6. Surround Yourself with Support
Quitting and experiencing withdrawal symptoms can feel like a really isolating experience. It’s easy to feel like you’re alone, so surrounding yourself with people who know what you’re going through can be really helpful.
People who are also trying to quit, or have already quit, can give you helpful tips and distractions from those killer cravings. They’ll also be super empathetic and will be there to listen if you’re ever having a tough day.
If there isn’t anyone in your life who’s going through what you are, it’s still important to keep in touch with friends and family to help distract you from your urges. Just be careful of your buds that still light up every now and then, because you don’t want to feel inclined to have a smoke just to be social.
7. Take on a New Hobby
One of the most common ways to fight cravings is to keep distracted in any way you can. A cool way to do this is by picking up a new hobby -- something you’ve never done before. Having a new and novel pastime can help keep you busy while also exposing you to new experiences that you would have never had if you didn’t try to quit.
If you’re the creative type, maybe try learning to draw, paint, or use a graphic design software. Love fitness? How about you get a membership to that rock-climbing gym down the street, or finally learn to snowboard down the diamond slopes.
Since your day will no longer revolve around smoking, the entire world is at your fingertips.
8. Don’t Forget the Benefits
When your brain starts telling you to “have just one puff” write down or say aloud the reasons why you’re quitting. Remind yourself that by nixing the nicotine you’re going to feel better, become healthier, spare your loved ones from secondhand smoke, and save a ton of money in the long-term.
The moment you take one drag is the moment you’ll be starting all over. As hard as it might feel, the end is closer than you think. Don’t forget why you’re doing this and just think about how accomplished you’ll feel once you finally mount the hurdles in your way.
Quitting nicotine comes with its fair share of withdrawal symptoms including mental and physical issues. One of the toughest ones to overcome is the intense craving to have just one more puff. But you can overcome those urges by trying a few different things.
The oral fixation associated with smoking is satisfying, so you can keep your mouth busy with gum or crunchy foods until your cravings subside. Similarly, you can try using CBD smokes to feel like you’re still smoking without any of the nasty tobacco, nicotine, or additives.
It’s also important to avoid situations that remind you of smoking while also reminding yourself that your craving sensations are only short-term, temporary side effects. You can also try picking up a brand new hobby to keep yourself distracted. Do them with a friend for maximum support.
No matter what you do, it’s important to keep your goals in sight. Quitting is hard, no doubt, but you’re already proving you’ve got the strength by trying. Stick it out for just a few weeks so that you can have a lifetime of health and happiness.