Ready to kick the habit?
Quitting smoking can be hard. The more you smoke, the Mayo Clinic says, the more nicotine your body craves to feel good.
“Nicotine is the chemical in tobacco that makes it hard to quit,” the clinic explains. “Nicotine produces pleasing effects in your brain, but these effects are temporary. So you reach for another cigarette.”
The clinic offers 10 things you can do to help fight cigarette cravings and kick the habit:
- Avoid triggers. Identify your trigger situations, such as being out with friends at a party, and have a plan in place to get through the situation without smoking.
- Don’t have “just one.” You might be tempted to have just one cigarette but, more often than not, one leads to another.
- Chew on it. Keep your mouth busy: Chew some gum or suck on a piece of hard candy, or snack on something crunchy.
- Delay and distract. Feel like you’re going to give into a craving? Wait 10 more minutes, and distract yourself during that time to fend off the craving.
- Get moving. Physical activity can help distract you from tobacco cravings and reduce their intensity. Go for a walk, or do some chores around the house.
- Practice relaxation techniques. Have cigarettes been your go-to for stress relief? Try a relaxation technique such as deep-breathing exercises, muscle relaxation or yoga.
- Ask your health care provider about nicotine replacement therapy. Options include prescription nicotine in a nasal spray or inhaler; over-the-counter nicotine patches, gum and lozenges; or prescription non-nicotine stop-smoking medications.
- Call for support. Spending time with family members, friends or a support group member can help you resist cravings. Or, you can take advantage of a free telephone quit line, (800) QUIT-NOW, that provides support and counseling.
- Go online. Learn from how others have handled their tobacco cravings.
- Remind yourself of the benefits. Write down or say out loud the reasons you want to stop smoking. These might include feeling better, getting healthier and saving money. You can do it!
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