How to Stop Cravings for Smoking

The physical risks of smoking, such as emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer have been well documented. However, the mental effects related to smoking cigarettes are harder to define. According to the American Cancer Society, studies have shown that to successfully quit smoking, the mental addiction to nicotine needs to be addressed as much as the physical addiction. Because nicotine is a drug, it creates a pleasant feeling while also acting as a depressant in your nervous system. To sustain that feeling, smokers will maintain, or even increase the number of cigarettes they smoke. Along with this comes a habitual need for smoking. To counteract cravings for nicotine, you need to identify your triggers and reroute your brain to other activities. Use these tips to stop cravings for smoking.


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    Delay your craving. If you feel as though you need a cigarette, tell yourself to wait for 10 or 15 minutes. Often this works better than the immediate thought of denying yourself a cigarette. In the meantime, begin an activity that will occupy your time. Use a timer if necessary and repeat the process.
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    Spend time in a public place. Most indoor facilities do not allow smoking. Take a trip to the mall, a museum, a restaurant or a library.
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    Avoid your personal triggers for smoking. These could include drinking alcohol or coffee, smoking after a meal, or being in situations where others are smoking, such as at a party or a bar.
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    Change your eating habits to prevent cravings.
    • Eliminate spicy foods and sugar, which tend to increase cravings for cigarettes. This is due mainly to the fact that your blood sugar levels become slightly altered, which trigger you to supplement with nicotine so you will not eat any more.
    • Make your meals last longer. Try to stretch out the time it takes to eat, and chew slowly in order to digest your meal properly. This will leave you with a satisfied feeling, and lessen your craving for nicotine.
    • Eat a piece of fruit for dessert to enhance the feeling of satisfaction.
    • Snack frequently on foods that are healthy and low in calories, such as carrots or apples. This will allow you to use your hands and put something in your mouth instead of smoking.
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    Remove tangible triggers from your home. Throw away any hidden packs of cigarettes and get rid of all ashtrays.
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    Exercise regularly. Replace cigarette smoking with an activity you enjoy, such as jogging, playing tennis or riding your bike. Daily activity will increase your endorphins, which will leave you feeling better and less likely to need a cigarette.
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    Employ relaxation techniques. Try yoga or meditation, which both require breathing exercises. If your body becomes relaxed through calm thought and breathing, you can avoid stress, which is a major mental trigger that may cause you to pick up a cigarette.
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    Try nicotine replacement therapy. Nicotine patches, lozenges and gum all help to alleviate the physical symptoms of nicotine, which in turn calm your mental cravings.
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    Remind yourself why you want to quit. Outline the reasons you need to quit smoking, including your health and the health of those around you.
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    Avoid the idea that you can have just 1 cigarette. The ingestion of nicotine will only trigger your body to need more, putting you at the risk of smoking more than 1 cigarette.
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    Seek the help of a support group. Talk to others who are trying to quit, get the support of your family, or quit with a friend. Join a support group, such as Nicotine Anonymous, which will allow you to talk to others who are battling nicotine addiction.

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Categories: Smoking Addictions