Skip to main content

What to do when you’re craving a cigarette

When cravings do strike, stay calm and remind yourself that cigarettes don’t control you.

Follow these steps and try your best not to give in. You can do this.

1. Chill out

Put some smooth tunes on and try to relax. Find your happy place – a place free of smoke and anything that reminds you of smoking. Get rid of any ash trays and lighters if you haven’t already, and grab some candles or air freshener to cover up the smell of smoke.

2. Find someone or something to distract you

Try cooking a healthy meal, going for a walk or calling a friend. Do something to occupy those crucial minutes and keep busy.

Distract Me

3. Keep your hands busy

Flip a coin, squeeze a stress ball, grab a water bottle, pat your pooch or pick up a pen and start doodling.

4. Put something else in your mouth – not a cigarette!

Think gum or lozenge, sip some water or eat a healthy snack like nuts or fruit. If this doesn't work, try brushing your teeth. You will feel fresh and clean and it's likely the cravings will have passed once you’re done.

5. Get outside

If you’re struggling to relax, go for a brisk stroll around the block. Or do another form of exercise if walking isn’t your thing. Make it something you enjoy like yoga, rock climbing or boxing. Grab a mate so you can chat and keep your mind off the cigarettes.

6. Plan ahead

If you know you’ll be craving a cigarette at a certain time, place or situation, prepare yourself and change up your usual routine. Consider using a faster-acting type of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) like mouth spray, gum, lozenge or inhalator a few minutes before you think a craving is going to hit. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist to see if NRT is suitable for you. Did you know that combination therapy – using a nicotine patch with a faster-acting NRT type – is one of the most effective quitting methods? 

7. Give Quitline a call on 13 7848

Our Quitline counsellors are qualified in helping people to stop smoking, and have plenty of great ideas to support you through this.

Request a callback

Last updated August 2023.

You can help us improve by letting us know when you think we could do better and when we got it right. To help us improve, please go to Complaints, Compliments and Feedback page.

Calming down
Feeling anxious
Managing cravings
Regain control
Staying quit

Related Stories

How Kelly beat the temptation

There's always a reason to quit, what's yours?

Read more

Explore other support options

There are a range of support options available to help you quit.

Free Quit Support

Calling the Quitline increases your chance of quitting successfully.
Quitline counsellors are trained to listen carefully to you to help meet your needs.

Free Tools