Smoking is bad for the health, and you have taken the first step to quit. If you are like many people, just simply quitting may seem easy in theory, but actually doing it can be tough. A big reason for this is the craving – the strong, intense desire to light up again.
Here, we share with you some tried-and-tested tips to beat these cravings.
Go for nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).
If you have not done so, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about NRT. NRT involves the use of nicotine patches and gums to help you beat the craving. Your doctor may also be able to refer you to a smoking cessation clinic, which offers advice and emotional support (and sometimes medication) to help you quit successfully.
Identify the cause of the craving.
The next time you experience craving, try to identify the cause, or trigger, for the craving. You may have more than one trigger. Some possible triggers include: stress, alcohol, habit, the sight of someone else smoking, etc. If you have problems identifying your triggers, you can seek the advice of your doctor or pharmacist.
Plan a way to manage these triggers.
Now that you know your trigger(s), you can plan on how you can manage these triggers. Triggers are often unavoidable, so the best plan of action may be to distract yourself until the craving is gone. For example:
- Exercise (jogging, running on the treadmill, etc) until the craving is gone.
- Text or call someone when you feel the craving.
- If the sight of another smoker triggers your craving, try staying at smoke-free zones as much as possible.
Keep your mouth busy.
Gums (or nicotine gums, if you are on NRT), hard candies and even a straw between your lips may also help you cope with the cravings.
If you find yourself feeling demotivated, review your quit-smoking goals.
(If you haven’t set any, now is a good time to do so!) Remembering why you want to quit will renew your determination to keep going when the odds seem stacked against you.
If you succumb to your craving, do not give up.
Review and analyse the situation that caused you to lapse, and come up with a plan on how to avoid being in a similar situation in the future. Consult your doctor or pharmacist if you need any further assistance. If you are not on NRT yet (you are trying to quit using willpower), it may be a good time to consider that option, as nicotine patches and gums have long been used to help many smokers quit successfully, without any adverse side effects to worry about.
Reference: Mayo Clinic. Available at www.mayoclinic.org.