Few smokers can quit without feeling the urge to smoke. The first week after you quit can be the hardest, as cravings can be more frequent and intense. People who do best at resisting the temptation to smoke learn many different ways to deal with cravings.
There are four main ways you can deal with cravings:
1. Using quitting products.
2. Changing your environment.
3. Using coping thoughts.
4. Changing what you do.
1. Using quitting products
Nicotine replacement products and prescription medications work by making cravings less less strong. They work best when you carefully follow instructions. Make sure you don't stop them too early. Visit the Patches, gum and medication page for more information.
2. Changing your environment
Cravings occur most commonly in situations that remind you of smoking. You can reduce how often and how strongly cravings occur by making your environment 'quitting friendly'. See the More tips page.
- Make your home and car smokefree. If that’s not possible, have at least one smokefree area for yourself.
- Make it harder for you to get cigarettes.
- Ask others not to smoke around you.
- Use places where you are not allowed to smoke as ‘protection’ until the craving passes.
3. Using mind power
The way you think about quitting can help you resist tempting situations.
- Tell yourself 'I can quit' or 'I don't need cigarettes'.
- Break your smoking thought patterns. Stop thoughts that lead you to want to smoke. Focus your mind on something else, such as images, fantasies or how you are going to reward yourself for staying quit.
- Remind yourself of your main reasons to quit smoking.
- Think of the benefits of quitting and the positive changes in your life since you stopped.
- Set short term goals such as taking one day at a time.
4. Changing what you do
Remember that having just one may lead you to go back to regular smoking. Quitting means acknowledging the urge to smoke even one cigarette, despite the cravings, the habit, the pressure and your own emotional reasons.
To quit, you need to learn new ways to cope with things that used to trigger your smoking. As you become better at doing things instead of smoking, your cravings will tend not to happen as often or be as strong. See the More tips page.
If you experience a mental health condition, monitor your moods for early signs that your condition might be worsening. Talk to your doctor if you experience any symptoms that worry you. Avoid isolating yourself from friends or family, and remember that you can call the Quitline.